ELECTION 2014: Colorado governor active on transportation issues

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 10/20/2014

In 15 days voters in Colorado will have ballots filled with candidates vying for offices that stretch from Washington, D.C., to around the block.

One of the offices on Colorado’s ballot is for the governor’s seat. Gov. John Hickenlooper is on the ballot for the second time.

He is opposed on the ballot by Republican Bob Beauprez. This is Beauprez’s second time running for governor. He ran in 2006.

The Democratic governor has taken action on multiple issues of relevance to truckers since taking the helm four years ago.

During his first year in office Hickenlooper signed a bill into law setting a statewide idling standard for commercial vehicles weighing in excess of 14,000 pounds. Specifically, the new rule set idling limits at no more than five minutes per hour.

Communities were authorized to adopt the idling standard. However, local authorities were not required to enforce the state standard.

A year later he signed into law new rules on Ports of Entry and on truck registration.

The new rule on Ports of Entry shifted responsibility for staff and facilities from the Colorado Department of Revenue to state troopers. As a result, the department’s motor carrier services division was eliminated.

The 2012 rule change was a follow-up to a 2010 law that handed over all truck safety activities to the State Patrol.

Another two-year-old law created a permanent registration for Class A trailers and semitrailers. The change put it in place an alternate registration for interstate, commercial trucks and semitrailers if the owner is based in a jurisdiction other than Colorado or, if the owner is based in the state, the semitrailer is at least 10 years old.

The new registration is permanent; however, it would expire if the trailer or semitrailer transfers ownership.

Hickenlooper has been busy this year putting his signature on multiple bills of interest to professional drivers. Such actions include:

  • Forbidding indemnification clauses in trucking contracts. The clauses are set up to protect shippers or hold them harmless from anything that happens with a shipment.
  • Protections for large trucks from excessive towing rates under regulations of the state’s Public Utilities Commission.
  • Boosting the punishment for drivers of oversize and overweight vehicles who illegally attempt to cross Independence Pass. Violators face fines up to $2,500.
  • Requirements for data from automated license plate readers to be destroyed after three years.

Hickenlooper did veto one bill that attempted to put in place new rules on public-private partnership deals for highway projects. Specifically, the bill sought to increase disclosures, oversight and public input.

The governor said the constraints on business terms sought in the bill “would create a chilling component on future transactions, making investors unlikely or unwilling to bid on Colorado projects due to the increased risks this process would generate.”

Beauprez has suggested another option for getting needed road work done: borrowing. He has referred to refinancing current bonds and issuing additional debt to put up to $5 billion into transportation work.

For more 2014 election coverage from Land Line, click here.

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