Arizona House passes split speed bill
HB 2256 will lower truck speed limits to 65 mph if it becomes law. A provision in the bill will also allow land restrictions for trucks on Interstate highways. The bill was approved by the House by a vote of 40 to 20 and is now under consideration by the Senate Transportation Committee. According to published reports, this bill is supported by the state trucking association and the state chapter of the American Automobile Association. The general information number for the Arizona Senate is 602-542-4900.
Colorado votes on tax exemption
The Colorado House Appropriations Committee is considering HB 1275, which would provide an exemption from the state sales tax for trucks and trailers used in interstate commerce. If passed, the proposed legislation would go to the Senate committee, where it would exempt all trucks (with a GVW of over 26,000 pounds) and all trailers that are registered under IRP. Colorado is one of only a handful of states that continues to tax trucking equipment used in interstate commerce. The net effect is that an owner-operator in Colorado pays more than $3,000 in state sales tax on a new tractor-trailer combination while truck operators in most of the surrounding states (and most states in the country) pay no state sales tax. In addition, trucking is the only form of interstate commerce in Colorado that is assessed state sales tax. Both airline and railroad equipment are exempt. Because of the tax environment, tractor registrations in Colorado are down by more than 20 percent versus 10 years ago. Many owner-operators and trucking companies have been forced to move their operations outside of the state of Colorado so that they remain competitive.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is working with the Colorado Motor Carriers Association to eliminate this onerous tax.
Virginia considers lane restrictions
HB 465 calls for trucks to keep right except to pass on limited access highways. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Transportation.
Also in Virginia, Senate Joint Resolution 55 calls for a study on the feasibility of moving truckload freight onto the rails to ease congestion on the state's highways. This resolution is assigned to the Senate Committee on Rules.
The cost of a state safety inspection for trucks (26,000 pounds and up) will jump from $10 to $50 if SB 578 becomes law. The bill is under consideration by the Senate Committee on Transportation. The general information number for the Virginia Senate is 804-698-7410 and the House of Delegates is 804-698-1500.
Split speed bill in Indiana
HB 1178 will raise speed limits on rural interstates to 70 mph for cars and 65 mph for trucks if legislators approve. A provision in the bill will also set speed limits of 60 mph for cars and 55 mph for trucks on other four-lane divided highways in the state. The bill has been assigned to the House Committee on Roads and Transportation.
That same committee will also consider HB 1106. This legislation calls for banning the use of engine brakes on the Indiana Toll Road in Porter County. Porter County is just east of Gary. The general information number for the Indiana Senate is 317-232-9400 and the Indiana House is 317-232-9600.
Missouri bill goes way too far
Sen. Ken Jacob's SB 841 calls for lowering truck speed limits on rural interstates and freeways to 65 mph. The bill also calls for trucks exceeding 70 mph to be fined $1,000. But another provision of the bill makes it extremely unlikely that a truck traversing Missouri interstates would ever get the opportunity to get up to 65 mph, never mind 70. Jacob wants trucks restricted to the right lane only and would prohibit trucks from passing any other vehicles. Given the volume of trucks on Missouri interstates, slow moving vehicles occupying the right lane could result in backups that would spill over the state's borders. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Transportation Committee. The general information number for the Missouri legislature is 573-751-3824.