, Land Line state legislative editor | Wednesday, February 08, 2017
Multiple bills gaining support in the Virginia General Assembly cover truck size and weight rules, and commercial driver’s licensing
The Senate voted unanimously to advance one bill to change certain truck rules to get in compliance with federal law.
Sponsored by Sen. Charles Carrico Sr., R-Grayson, SB1384 would bring the state in line with federal rules on size and weights. Among the provisions in the bill is permission for vehicle and watercraft carriers to backhaul general cargo.
A separate provision would increase the weight at which a vehicle must be inspected at a permanent weigh station to at least 10,000 pounds.
Another provision would make overweight permits available for tank vehicles hauling milk.
The changes would bring the state into line with the federal Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act of 2015. Noncompliance would result in the state losing out on 7 percent of federal-aid highway funds each federal fiscal year.
If the bill is not approved, the Virginia Department of Transportation estimates the state could lose $72.9 million of federal-aid highway funds in the next year.
A second bill from Carrico to receive unanimous Senate approval covers overweight permits for trucks hauling asphalt.
Specifically, SB1316 would add asphalt haulers to the list of vehicles whose owner or operator may obtain an overweight permit from the Department of Motor Vehicles to operate in certain counties. Exceptions are already available for haulers of gravel, sand or crushed stone.
The bill also specifies that vehicles with six axles must have no less than 40 feet between extreme axles to exceed gross weight limitations.
VDOT says the bill would likely result in slightly slowing the rate of deterioration on pavement and bridges in the affected counties because it would require minimum axle spacing for vehicles with a gross weight up to 110,000 pounds. The agency reports the change would allow for better weight distribution for such vehicles.
Both bills have moved to the House Transportation Committee.
A House-approved bill covers commercial driver’s licensing via community colleges.
Sponsored by Delegate Tony Wilt, R-Harrisonburg, would permit “comprehensive” community colleges in the state system to administer the skills test to students enrolled in a commercial driver training course who have failed the CDL skills or written exams three times.
After the additional training, the DMV would be solely responsible for administering the applicable exam.
HB2075 is in the Senate Transportation Committee.
To view other legislative activities of interest for Virginia, click here.
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