A bill that is still active as time winds down on the
regular session in New Jersey would eliminate uniform speeds on rural highways
in the state.
Sponsored by Assemblywoman Marcia Karrow, R-Hunterdon, the
bill would require trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds - and for trucks
hauling hazardous materials regardless of weight - to be slowed by 10 mph to 55
mph. All other vehicles would be allowed to continue to travel at the current
65 mph limit.
Karrow's bill is similar to two failed efforts in the past
few years by her predecessor, Assemblywoman Connie Myers. Neither bill made it
out of committee.
Myers' original proposal came after a horrific day nearly
four years ago when three separate accidents on Interstates 80, 287 and 78 -
all involving trucks - killed three people, injured six and delayed thousands
of commuters. State officials said none of the accidents in November 2002 were
caused by truck drivers.
Gail Toth, director of the New Jersey Motor Truck
Association, told Land Line Magazine she doesn't foresee the outcome of
this latest effort ending up differently than the previous attempts to
eliminate uniform speeds.
"It would be absolutely obscene to adopt split speeds. I
think most people in government understand it," Toth said.
"Split speeds are dangerous. We have very highly congested
highways. We cannot have people driving at two different levels. Especially on
highly truck traveled roads. I can't even imagine. It would be like bumper
Toth said concerns about highway safety would be better
addressed simply by enforcing current regulations in the state.
"These are knee jerk reactions to situations instead of just
saying 'let's get more cops on the road and enforce the law in general.' That
would stop a lot of the problem," she said.
Karrow's effort - A1791 - is in the Assembly Transportation
and Public Works Committee.
The New Jersey Legislature is scheduled to adjourn in
January 2007. Any bill that doesn't gain approval prior to the end of the
session can be brought back for consideration next year.
- By Keith Goble, state legislative editor
Reminder: Don't forget to set your clocks back Saturday
It's the last weekend in October, so don't forget - it's
time to turn your clocks back one hour on Saturday night.
Daylight-saving time officially ends at 2 a.m. Sunday
This is the last year when DST will end in October. In
accordance with part of 2005's Energy Bill, daylight-saving season will run
from March until November beginning in 2007.
Lawmakers believe the extra hour of daylight will help
reduce the nation's energy consumption.
Florida county to decide on penny tax to aid
When voters in Broward County, FL, get to the end of their
ballots Nov. 7, they will decide whether to authorize a penny increase in the
sales tax for transportation improvements.
Question 2 would increase the sales tax from 6 cents to 7
cents on the dollar for the next 30 years, starting in January 2007. The
revenue boost would generate an estimated $260 million annually for improved
The money would match federal transportation grants for
local projects. Preliminary plans are to use the money for the county's bus
service and synchronizing traffic signals, The Miami Herald reported.
Construction of light rail lines also will be considered.
Proponents have billed the ballot initiative as the only way
to avoid total gridlock on roads. Opponents are concerned about how the money
would be distributed.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7. Polls are open in Florida from 7 a.m. EST to 7 p.m.
Voters in the county who don't want to wait until then to
cast their ballots have two options. Residents can take part in early voting
which allows voters to cast ballots at any of 20 locations scattered throughout
the county seven days a week through Nov. 5. Anyone unable to participate in
early voting can request an absentee ballot until Nov. 3.
Visit browardsoe.org for
more election information.
Three states study truck rest area needs
If you haul in the northern New Jersey-New York area, you'll
be glad to hear that someone is studying the need for new or bigger truck rest
Actually, that "someone" is state agencies in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut - all of which are cooperating on a regional study.
John Hummer of the North Jersey Transportation Planning
Authority told "Land Line Now" on XM Satellite Radio that the study will
recommend sites for new rest areas and/or the expansion of existing facilities.
Right now, Hummer said, the shoulders of interstates like
I-95, I-80 and I-78 turn into makeshift rest stops at night, because there's
nowhere else to park a rig.
"If you drive the highways in our region, especially at
night, you see trucks pulled over on the shoulders of our roads by the
thousands, literally grabbing a little bit of sleep, trying to get off the
books so they can get ready for the next day's driving," Hummer said. "It
represents, to us and to the industry, a safety hazard and a security issue. We
are not providing a safe place for the truckers to go and get some rest."
The joint study on new parking will be presented to the
transportation departments and lawmakers in all three states early next year.
- By Reed Black, staff writer