OOIDA State Watch

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor

CALIFORNIA

Gov. Jerry Brown signed one bill into law to authorize the California DOT to construct a toll lane on the Interstate 10 and 15 corridors in San Bernardino County. The county’s Transportation Commission will be permitted to operate a value-pricing program on the corridors.

Existing toll-free lanes could not be converted to pay lanes. However, high-occupancy vehicle lanes could be converted to high-occupancy toll lanes.

AB914 also permits the commission to pursue extending the HOT lanes to include I-10 connectors into Los Angeles County and on I-15 into Riverside County.

The governor vetoed a separate bill, AB210, to free up carpool lanes in the Los Angeles area during non-peak hours and weekends. Brown said he continues to believe that carpool lanes are important in the area and "we should continue to retain the current 24/7 carpool lane control."

INDIANA

Gov. Mike Pence has unveiled a $1 billion plan to aid the state’s roads and bridges. The four-year plan would reroute $241 million from the state’s reserve fund while borrowing another $240 million. Another $450 million in budget appropriations would need to be approved by state lawmakers.

A report commissioned by the state found that lawmakers need to approve about $1.5 billion annually to keep the state’s existing infrastructure in “good or fair” condition. Among the options in the report are increasing existing fuel tax rates; adding sales tax to fuel purchases; indexing the state’s fuel tax to increase with inflation; tolls; and raising taxes and fees on truckers.

MICHIGAN

Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law a multi-bill road funding package that raises the state’s 19-cent-per-gallon gas tax rate by 7.3 cents to 26.3 cents on Jan. 1, 2017. The 15-cent diesel rate will also increase by 11.3 cents to 26.3 cents on the same date. Additionally, HB4738 will link the tax rates to the consumer price index in 2022, which allows tax collections to increase with inflation.

Another component in the package, HB4736, increases vehicle registration by 20 percent for cars and large trucks.

The package also authorizes an annual transfer from the state’s general fund to roads. In the first transfer, HB4370 shifts $150 million between the accounts and increases to $600 million by 2021.

PENNSYLVANIA

One new law eliminates the mandatory escort of super-sized loads by the state police. Instead, “certified pilot escorts” could be used. The Pennsylvania DOT and state troopers would provide oversight.

Currently, any load greater than 201,000 pounds, over 160 feet, and/or 16 feet wide requires a police escort. The transporting company pays a $50 set up fee and pays $2 per mile plus overtime for the police escort.

Another bill nearing passage includes provisions to sync the state’s code with federal CDL regulations on license testing and learner’s permit standards. SB925 clarifies that an employer is prohibited from knowingly permitting a driver to get behind the wheel if he or she is under a license restriction, and provides that a skills test from another state must be accepted and that interpreters are not permitted during the test.

House lawmakers voted to approve a bill to repeal the elimination of vehicle registration stickers. Starting Dec. 31, 2016, the state is set to stop requiring registration stickers to be displayed on vehicles. HB1154 has moved to the Senate.

One Senate bill would set up a five-year pilot program for the Pennsylvania DOT to post speed cameras in active work zones on interstates and the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

SB840 calls for using automated enforcement cameras to detect drivers exceeding the posted speed limit by at least 11 mph when workers are present. Registered owners of vehicles found in violation would receive $100 fines in the mail. No points would be added to a driver’s record. LL