Connecticut bills focus on trucks

| 2/7/2007

Several bills have been introduced in Connecticut that address issues directly related to trucking in the state.

Rep. Claire Janowski, D-Vernon, has introduced a bill that would allow truck drivers to use the left passing lane on Interstates 84, 95 and 91. Janowski wrote in the bill - HB5315 - that the change would "increase highway efficiency and reduce accident traffic along highways."

A separate effort is intended to aid businesses in the state that do truck repairs. Sponsored by Rep. Joseph Serra, D-Middletown, the bill - HB5031 - would exempt the sales tax on parts and labor for repairs to trucks and motor vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds.

Serra wrote that the exemption potentially would "stop major fleets from going out of state for repairs, thus keeping the Connecticut repair industry competitive."

Another bill would make certain truck drivers responsible for paying more tax to the state. Sponsored by Rep. DebraLee Hovey, R-Monroe, the measure - HB5287 - would allow towns to levy a tax on each truckload of rocks, dirt or other materials removed from a construction site.

A bill offered by Sen. Tony Guglielmo, R-Stafford, would require increased penalties for motor vehicle violations where certain trucks are involved. The effort - SB154 - would authorize increased penalties to be imposed upon operators or owners for any equipment or moving violation where the vehicle involved has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of at least 18,001 pounds.

Rep. John Ryan, D-Oakdale, has offered legislation HB5428 - that would prohibit any trucks longer than 30 feet in length to travel along the Merritt Parkway.

One other bill calls for truck traffic to be shifted off Connecticut roadways and onto rail. Sponsored by Rep. Thomas Drew, D-Fairfield, the bill - HB5424 - would require a working group to be assembled to recommend actions necessary to divert trucks from highways in the state to rail.

It also calls for the group to recommend a regional action plan for alternative Hudson River freight crossings.

The bills are in the Joint Committee on Transportation.

- By Keith Goble, state legislative editor