Missouri bills cover truck weights, road access

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 4/2/2012

Truck issues continue to wind their way through the Missouri statehouse. Topics addressed cover issues relating to the regulation of household goods movers in the state, and highway access for farmers. Another bill is intended to help ensure geographic diversification of the state’s transportation board.

The House voted unanimously on Thursday, March 29, to advance a bill that would drop a requirement that contract carriers of HHG show that the service is needed when applying for a certificate of authority or permit.

Applicants would continue to be required to show that they “are fit, willing, and able to perform the proposed service, and must conform to other specified requirements.”

The requirement that HHG movers file rates with the state Highways and Transportation Commission would be dropped. Currently, only movers operating solely within commercial zones are not required to file their schedule of rates with the commission.
Movers would continue to be required to publish the information at its offices.

Rates in commercial zones would be authorized to be different than rates collected in rural areas of the state. Missouri law now prohibits HHG movers from using schedules of rates that divide the state into territorial rate areas.

A separate provision in the 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.

A provision in the bill would mandate that towns provide at least one street for large trucks “to access any roads in the state highway system.”

The bill – HB1402 – is awaiting consideration in the Senate.

Another bill halfway through the statehouse is intended to make Missouri farmers more competitive with those in neighboring states. House lawmakers voted to advance to the Senate a bill that addresses milk, 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.

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.

Milk haulers weighing up to 85,500 pounds on the way to processing facilities would also be authorized to use affected highways.

Interstates would not be affected by the proposed changes.

“It just makes sense. …This bill will allow us to have a strong competitive advantage with neighboring states,” Rep. Jason Smith, R-Salem, said during House floor consideration.

Opponents say the bill bows to big trucking interests at the expense of safety.

“They are asking my constituents to have worse roads so they can haul cheaper,” Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, told lawmakers.

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.

One more bill would change how the state’s Highways and Transportation Commission is setup. The House voted 147-2 to advance a bill to the Senate that is intended to make sure the six-member group appointed by the governor is more geographically diversified.

HB1630 would limit the commission to one member from each of the state’s eight congressional districts.

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

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