Rep. Petri, Sen. Kohl to Hold Oshkosh Press Conference on Highway 41
Rep. Tom Petri and Senator Herb Kohl will hold a press conference tomorrow on the planned upgrade of Highway 41 to Interstate status. Of particular note is the need to provide a grandfather provision to allow trucks currently exceeding the Interstate weight limit to continue to use the highway.
The time and place:
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
DOT Office - 2905 Universal St., Oshkosh
Rep. Tom Petri
Sen. Herb Kohl
John Casper, President/CEO, Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce
Tom Howells, President of the Wisconsin Motor Carriers Assoc.
"Making Highway 41 an Interstate will assure area businesses, and companies considering moving here, that both the state and federal governments are committed to providing high quality transportation infrastructure for this region. Both the local economy and the quality of life will benefit. We do need to grandfather current trucks for certain businesses, however." - Rep. Tom Petri.
In 2005, when Rep. Petri was chairman of the House Highways and Transit Subcommittee, he played a key role in having the Highway 41 corridor designated as a future Interstate - a change which will boost the economy in the Fox Valley.
With the designation comes federal truck weight limits, generally 80,000 pounds of gross vehicle weight. That would impact certain timber, waste, scrap metal, agriculture and other products.
Rep. Petri, Sen. Kohl and Rep. Reid Ribble have been working to win approval for a grandfather provision which would allow vehicles of the type currently using Highway 41 to continue the practice. A similar grandfather provision has previously been approved for I-39 in Wisconsin and I-99 in Pennsylvania, and different exemptions apply to interstates in Maine, Vermont and other states.
Rep. Petri proposed the grandfather provision as an amendment to a House transportation authorization bill. That bill was pulled from the House floor, however. Instead, the House passed an extension of the current Transportation bill until Sept. 30 while the Senate has approved a new Transportation bill.
Rep. Ribble has been appointed to the conference committee which will iron out the differences between the two bills. Working with Rep. Petri and Sen. Kohl, Rep. Ribble will push for the grandfather provision during the negotiations if allowed during the conference.
On a separate track, Sen. Kohl has been successful in having the language included in the Senate Transportation Appropriations bill which was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee. It has yet to be considered by the full Senate, but if finally approved will provide an additional reason for Congress as a whole to accept the I-41 weight exemptions.