Indiana Senate OKs bills covering truck fees, licensing

| 3/3/2011

Two bills that have advanced from the Indiana Senate cover truck fees and aspiring truckers in the state.

The Senate voted 37-13 to approve a bill that would establish a weight enforcement fund to provide $1.5 million in annual revenue for personnel and equipment needed to enforce heavy truck rules. The fund would be managed by the Indiana State Police.

Sponsored by Sen. Tom Wyss, R-Fort Wayne, the bill calls for an additional $10 fee to be collected from certain permits and annual registration for heavy trucks.

The fee for vehicles with total gross weight between 80,000 and 134,000 pounds to obtain a special weight permit for each trip on an extra heavy duty highway would increase from $41.50 to $51.50. The annual registration for affected vehicles would be raised from $25 to $35.

Fees for special and emergency permits issued to vehicles that exceed the legal weight limit ? which include a trip permit, any associated mileage fees, a 90-day permit and an annual permit ? would also increase by $10.

According to a fiscal impact statement on the bill, there were 153,226 transactions for applicable fees paid during the 2010 fiscal year. It is anticipated that the fee increases would raise about $1.53 million for the weight enforcement fund.

Wyss? bill ?SB486 ? is awaiting assignment to committee in the House.

The Senate has approved another bill that would consolidate Indiana?s driver education programs, which are now managed by three state agencies.

Of interest to truck drivers, responsibilities for commercial driver training schools would be transferred from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Truck driver training responsibilities would also be shifted from the Department of State Revenue to the BMV.

Once responsibilities are shifted to the BMV the agency would be required to set rules for driver education training, which would include rules pertaining to commercial driver training schools.

The agency would issue licenses to individuals who want to set up or operate a commercial driving training school.

A fiscal impact statement attached to the bill explains that allowing licensed driver training schools to administer tests could decrease the workload and expenses for the state.

?This driver?s education system is more complicated than it should be,? Sen. Ed. Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, said in a statement. ?By streamlining services, we could help use taxpayer dollars more efficiently and more effectively train drivers.?

The bill ?SB127 ? is awaiting assignment to committee in the House.

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

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