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Bill extends weight-limit
flexibility to farmers    
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[FEB. 25, 2004]  SPRINGFIELD -- State Sen. Larry Bomke, R-Springfield, wants to help area farmers, come harvest time. He is supporting legislation that will give farmers more flexibility with weight limits when hauling their crops from the field.

Senate Bill 2327 addresses a growing problem of "occupational profiling" when state police target farm trucks and grain wagons for overweight loads during harvest time. The fines average $700-$800 but can run higher if the load is excessively overweight.

"It is difficult to get the crops out of the field without traveling on our county roads, and accurately judging the weight of your truck can be difficult until you get to the elevator," said Bomke. "Farmers need some flexibility where this is concerned, and Senate Bill 2327 provides that flexibility while maintaining the integrity of our roads."

Currently farmers can get special permits for overweight loads but only during certain harvest season and only for two-axle trucks. Still, judging the actual weight of the truck can be a problem. Shifting loads make it difficult for a farmer to judge the actual weight of the load until they get to the elevator.


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Also, Illinois -- unlike any other state in the nation -- has roads rated below the typical 80,000-pound limit, making it difficult for farmers in some rural areas to get to their destination without driving on a lower-limit road, if only for a few miles.

Senate Bill 2327 expands the permits to any time of the year, for longer distances and for two-, three-, four- or five-axle vehicles, allowing greater flexibility for farmers. The measure would also allow farmers a 10 percent leeway on the weight limit during harvest time, so long as they are going from the field to the first point of storage and abide by posted bridge weight limits.

Even under Senate Bill 2327, the weight of the load could not exceed 80,000 pounds.

Senate Bill 2327 was approved by the Senate Transportation Committee on Tuesday and now awaits action by the full Senate.

[News release from Sen. Larry Bomke]

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