Indiana bills die that addressed road restrictions, truck weights

| Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A couple of bills in the Indiana General Assembly died that were of particular interest to truck drivers. One would have opened more roadways to heavier trucks while the other would have diverted revenue from overweight truck violations to the law enforcement agencies that issued the citations.

The bills failed to advance from committee to their chamber’s floor prior to a deadline.

Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Howe, offered one bill – HB1237 – that would have allowed large trucks more access to certain roads in the state. Sections of U.S. 20, state Roads 5, 13, 120 and 327 would have been designated as extra heavy-duty highways. The distinction would have allowed 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 sought to 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 have made changes to where revenue from many overweight truck penalties are routed. State law now requires the revenue be deposited into the highway fund.

Sponsored by Sen. Thomas Wyss, R-Fort Wayne, the bill – SB73 – called for sending half of the fines collected as a civil penalty to the law enforcement agency that employs the officer who issued the violation.

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

Trucks found to be more than 10,000 pounds overweight would have faced up to $10,000 fines. Violations for trucks weighing between 5,000 pounds and 10,000 pounds in excess would have faced fines up to $1,000. The violations are referred to as Class A and Class B violations, respectively.

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.

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

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