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Logging trucks clog downtown Duluth to protest interstate weight limits

Seventy trucks roll through town to get attention to their complaints that they must use state highways with fully loaded rigs.

Logging trucks, some loaded with cargo of giant logs, rolled through downtown Duluth this morning to draw attention to complaints about weight limits on interstate highways that lead some trucks to use state highways and city streets instead.

The Duluth News Tribune says there was a rally, followed by about 70 trucks driving through downtown to make a point.

Federal regulations limit trucks to 80,000 pounds on the interstate system within Minnesota, but truckers say 90,000-pound loads, which are allowed on state highways, mean fewer trips and, therefore, lower fuel costs.

“Hopefully, this will be the event that pushes this issue over the finish line in Washington,” Scott Dane, executive director of the Associated Contract Loggers and Truckers, said at the rally.

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Three other states have permission from the federal government to exceed the 80,000-pound limit, but truckers say railroad interests have lobbied against the change in Minnesota.

Congressman Chip Cravaack was at the rally supporting the truckers. He’s sponsored legislation to change the weight limit.

An aide to Sen. Amy Klobuchar told the audience at the rally that Klobuchar supports the change, too.

The paper notes that opponents of the weight change for logging trucks on intestates worry that it “opens the doors for all industries to demand bigger, heavier trucks. Highway safety organizations say big trucks often are less safe on freeways with passenger cars.”