Missouri truck bills cover taxes, weights, street access

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 1/24/2012

Truck issues are under review throughout the Missouri statehouse. Issues that are expected to get consideration in the weeks ahead include truck taxes, street access and weight limits.

One plan that could be met with groans from professional drivers is an effort to expand a sales and use tax exemption for certain haulers. SB480 would also modify the definition of a “common carrier.”

Missouri law now exempts trucks and trailers used by common carriers from state and local sales and use taxes.

Sponsored by Senate Transportation Chairman Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, the bill would expand the tax exemptions to includes trucks weighing at least 24,000 pounds or trailers used for transporting person or property.

The state Department of Revenue reported in fiscal year 2011 there were about 12,000 trucks registered with 24,000-pound plates. They paid more than $8 million in state sales and use tax.

If approved, the state DOT, cities and counties would collect fewer vehicles sales tax revenues.

In addition, common carriers would no longer be required to “hold itself out to the general public” to transport property or passengers.

Stouffer’s bill is in the Senate Transportation Committee.

Another bill is intended to prevent municipalities from shutting trucks out from traveling through town.

Missouri law now permits municipalities to limit the use of certain designated streets to passenger vehicles.

Sponsored by Rep. Lincoln Hough, R-Springfield, the bill would mandate that towns provide at least one street for large trucks “to access any roads in the state highway system.”

HB1295 is awaiting assignment to committee.

A separate bill that is expected to get consideration in committee this week addresses livestock and agriculture haulers.

Currently, livestock haulers on U.S. 36 from St. Joseph to U.S. 65 and U.S.65 from the Iowa state line to U.S. 36 cannot exceed 85,500 lbs.

Sponsored by Rep. Jason Smith, R-Salem, HB1212 would remove the specified highways and apply the weight restriction to any vehicle hauling livestock or agricultural products on highways. An exception would be made for local log trucks on any state highway.

Interstates would not be affected by the proposed changes.

Officials from the Missouri Department of Transportation say the increased allowable weights would result in more state-run bridges requiring postings for legal loads. The agency estimates bridges requiring some type of posting would increase by 20 percent.

According to a fiscal note on the bill, MoDOT reports the change would necessitate an annual expense of at least $100,000.

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

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