Missouri governor decides on truck rules, second truck plate

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Two bills in Missouri to bring some of the state’s truck rules in line with federal rules and to raise money for transportation work get a different response from the governor.

Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed a lengthy bill that included a provision to comply with federal rules on learning permits for commercial driver’s licenses and outlaw texting and the use of hand-held cellphones by truckers while driving.

Failure to make the changes could result in Missouri losing out on $30 million of federal highway funds the first year. Withholdings double each year thereafter until compliance is achieved.

States must adopt the CDL testing standards by July 8, 2014. The deadline to adopt the texting ban is Oct. 27, 2013, and the cellphone driving rule must be updated by Jan. 3, 2015.

Nixon said he vetoed SB51 because of a provision to authorize new vehicle and trailer fees and raise existing fees. He cited costs that would have doubled for drivers without providing improved service.

Bill supporters said the fees have remained unchanged for too long. They also said the $22 million in additional revenue that would be created is necessary to help support some license facilities.

The governor’s action doesn’t mean the end of the road for the truck rules. Two separate bills still on his desk include the distracted driving and learning permit changes.

Nixon signed a separate bill into law to offer an additional license plate for about 225,000 large trucks registered in the state.

Missouri law now limits property-carrying trucks weighing more than 12,000 pounds to one license plate.

HB349 allows affected truck owners to request a second plate. The state could charge $15 for the additional plate.

According to a fiscal note, the plates could raise another $337,000 each year for state and local transportation work. Three-quarters of new revenue is slated to the state’s highway fund. Cities will get 15 percent and counties will get the other 10 percent.

Plates would have “distinguishing marks” indicating one is for the front of the truck and the other is for the rear.

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

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