By Anne Marie Morgan
As lawmakers in Virginia grapple with how to fund transportation maintenance, some suggest targeting overweight vehicles to cover the costs of repairing the damage they cause.
A legislative commission is considering whether those costs should be borne by industries rather than taxpayers.
Panel Chairman and Delegate Joe May says some grossly overweight trucks often take back roads to avoid weigh stations.
"They see some really remarkable things: the roadway being squeezed out like toothpaste when they stop at a traffic light. And the weigh station just can't catch them all," he says.
May says new permit fees for distance and very heavy loads might make sense.
"We certainly don't wish to discourage commerce or anything like that at all. This is just more nearly, 'if you break it, you've got to fix it,'" May says.
But Delegate Glenn Oder says that must be balanced with the business impact.
"We are a conduit for the transfer of national goods, both national and international through the Port of Hampton Roads, so we need to be very cautious," he says.
The panel wants to consult industry stakeholders before offering a final proposal.