Utah nears rule to rein in idling restrictions

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 3/13/2012

A Utah bill on its way to the governor’s desk addresses concerns raised about local ordinances around the state that limit idling for cars and trucks.

Salt Lake City approved a two-minute idling ordinance in October 2011 for vehicles parked in public spots, as well as private parking lots or driveways. First-time offenders get off with a warning. Fines for subsequent offenses start at $100.

City leaders said the rule’s intent is to improve air quality in Salt Lake Valley, where vehicle exhaust accounts for more than 50 percent of the state’s air pollution.

Rep. Wayne Harper, R-West Jordan, called the ordinance abusive and a violation of property rights.

The Utah House voted 53-22 to sign off on changes to his bill to allow only ordinances that are “primarily educational.” HB104 now moves to Gov. Gary Herbert’s desk. Senate lawmakers already approved it by unanimous consent.

In addition to the Salt Lake City program, a similar rule in nearby Park City would also be affected.

If signed into law, three warning citations would be required to be doled out before a ticket can be issued. Fines could only be structured the same as a parking violation.

Any ordinance could only be enforced on private property that is accessible to the public, such as parking lots. Private driveways would be off limits for idling enforcement.

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

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