Pennsylvania Senate endorses truck weigh system bill

November 2, 2021

Keith Goble

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Progress continues to be made at the Pennsylvania statehouse to adopt a truck weigh station bypass system. A separate bill also covers truck weights.

State senators voted unanimously to advance a bill touted to add Pennsylvania to a truck weigh station bypass system already in use in nearly all states.

Sponsored by Sen. Judy Ward, R-Blair, SB827 would direct the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to establish an electronic weigh station bypass system for trucks moving across the state.

Supporters tout bypass services for reducing dangerous congestion at weigh stations. Ward adds that bypass services reduce emissions by saving fuel and reduce lost time waiting at weigh stations.

“In fact, bypass services incentivize carriers to maintain their safety record and provide credentials to law enforcement in advance,” Ward said in a recent memo to legislators. “The local economy benefits from bypass services as well, reducing the overall cost of moving goods.”

She noted that 47 states already participate in the national bypass program.

“This legislation simply allows electronic bypass to function in Pennsylvania, which 47 other states already utilize,” she said.

Ward’s bill now moves to the House, where an identical version recently received unanimous approval from state representatives. The House version, HB1410, has since moved to the Senate for consideration.

Despite receiving unanimous support in both statehouse chambers, one bill must be approved by each chamber before heading to the governor’s desk.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly is in the first year of a two-year session.

Bonding requirements

A separate bill at the statehouse covers the bonding requirement for highways and bridges.

Pennsylvania law permits municipalities to require vehicles in excess of 10 tons to apply for a permit and to post a bond to ensure that any damage caused to the roadways will be repaired.

Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, says that while PennDOT has not increased the bond amount, the cost of reconstructing and repairing roads and bridges has increased “dramatically.”

His bill would allow the state DOT to publish a revised schedule of bonding amounts for affected vehicles based on an increase or decrease in maintenance costs.

“Additionally, instead of requiring the municipality to show that the permittee damaged the roadway, any damage would legally be presumed to have been caused by the permittee,” Longietti wrote about his bill to lawmakers. “If this was not the case, the permittee could then offer evidence showing that the damage was caused by some other source.”

Longietti says HB1517 would ensure that adequate funding is available to pay for damage to state highways caused by large vehicles.

The bill is in the House Transportation Committee. LL

More Land Line coverage of news from Pennsylvania.

 

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Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.