Indiana bills address road restrictions, truck weights

| 1/30/2008

A couple of bills introduced in the Indiana General Assembly are of particular interest to truckers. One would open more roadways to heavier trucks while the other would divert revenues from overweight truck violations to the law enforcement agencies that issued the citations.

Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Howe, has introduced a bill that would allow large trucks more access to certain roads in the state. Sections of U.S. 20, state Roads 5, 13, 120 and 327 would be designated as extra heavy duty highways. The distinction would allow up to 90,000-pound loads.

According to a fiscal analysis on the bill, the cost to upgrade the affected roads and bridges to accommodate the heavier loads would be $62 million.

Another provision in the bill would remove a certain weight restriction on a section of U.S. 20 already designated as an extra heavy duty highway. Gov. Mitch Daniels signed a bill into law last year authorizing heavier loads on sections of U.S. 20, as well as state Roads 3 and 9.

Another bill would make changes to where revenues from many overweight truck penalties are routed. State law now requires all of the revenues to be deposited into the highway fund.

Sponsored by Sen. Thomas Wyss, R-Fort Wayne, the bill would send half the fines collected as a civil penalty to the law enforcement agency that employs the officer who issued the violation.

The agency also would be required to use the money for commercial motor vehicle enforcement.

Trucks found to be more than 10,000 pounds overweight face up to $10,000 fines. Violations for trucks weighing between 5,000 pounds and 10,000 pounds in excess face fines up to $1,000. The violations are referred to as Class A and Class B violations, respectively. Class C violations would not be included in the diversion of funds.

According to a fiscal analysis on the bill, the state collected an annual average of $962,400 in overweight fines during a three-year period.

Wyss’ bill – SB73 – is in the Senate Appropriations Committee. Stutzman’s bill – HB1237 – is in the House Roads and Transportation Committee.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Indiana in 2008, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor