Indiana bill would make weight exception for APUs

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 1/7/2010

An incentive to reduce truck idling in Indiana has been renewed as lawmakers returned to the state Capitol this week.

Rep. Dennis Avery, D-Evansville, has introduced a bill that calls for increasing the maximum weight limits for large trucks equipped with idle reduction technology. Trucks equipped with auxiliary power units would be authorized to weigh up to an additional 400 pounds.

This isn’t Avery’s first go-around in trying to get the weight exception through the statehouse. A year ago a similar version died in a conference committee. House and Senate lawmakers weren’t able to reach agreement on a provision added in the Senate to include extending the total gross weight of vehicles transporting ocean-going containers from 90,000 pounds to 95,000 pounds.

Avery’s latest effort – HB1084 – doesn’t include the ocean-going container provision.

Supporters say the weight exception removes the disincentive that would keep truckers from using APUs. They say a reduction of 400 pounds in cargo is a major loss in hauling potential and represents an economic disincentive for using these units.

States were granted federal authority in 2005 to allow heavy-duty trucks to exceed the 80,000-pound maximum weight limit to encourage the use of idling-reduction equipment.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has long advocated adoption of the 400-pound exemption.

“It was the intent of Congress that the 400-pound exemption become law in all states,” Joe Rajkovacz, OOIDA’s director of regulatory affairs told Land Line. “The Association supports the exemption as reasonable because it’s another inducement to install an APU onto your truck.”

Indiana is one of about a dozen states that do not allow 400-pound exceptions for APUs. States to add the provision in the past year include Arizona, Maine and Virginia. Legislation is pending in Massachusetts to adopt the provision and a Florida lawmaker has prefiled a bill for consideration during the upcoming regular session.

The Indiana bill is awaiting consideration in the House Roads and Transportation Committee.

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

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