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Legislature Hears Comment, Delays Action on Proposed Road Preservation Law

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Legislature Hears Comment, Delays Action on Proposed Road Preservation Law

Wednesday, August 17, 2011
The Legislature took public comment on the latest version of a proposed Road Preservation Law, that would regulate high intensity truck traffic to protect county roads from damage, but decided to postpone any action until at least its next meeting. Eight people spoke--'among them, several who expressed concern that the load limits contained in the law may be too low and need further review.

The law would amend the County Code to regulate certain temporary "high frequency, high-impact truck traffic on County roads from temporary projects--'such as but not limited to the type of traffic that would be generated by gas drilling--'that would carry the potential to cause "significant and measurable damage to County roads." The new law, as currently proposed, would apply to traffic of more than 1,000 truck trips to and from a project site over the course of a project, involving trucks with a gross weight of more than 30 tons. The proposal includes the option of voluntary road use agreements as an alternative to the permitting process and excludes agricultural operations; school buses, law enforcement, fire fighting, and military vehicles; and vehicles performing municipal road work.

At the hearing, Bruno Schickel, who has spoken at an earlier public hearing and two public information meetings earlier this year, said he supports the intention of the law, but maintained it needs more revision, predicting it would create "a lot of unintended consequences and negative effects on local businesses. Both he and Dennis Mix, who operates Mix Brothers trucking, said the 1,000 load limit should be increased to 2,500 to avoid unintended impacts.

Government Operations Committee Chair Mike Lane moved to delay consideration until the Legislature's next meeting September 6, saying he believes the proposed law is a good one, but needs more time to digest the comments. The vote to delay was 11-4, with Legislators Leslyn McBean-Clairborne, Kathy Luz Herrera, Dooley Kiefer, and Facilities and Infrastructure Chair Carol Chock voting no. Chock said she had hoped to discuss where the Legislature might be headed; Kiefer questioned what work would be done before the next meeting. Chair Martha Robertson asked that the Facilities and Infrastructure Committee review the proposal again at its September 2 meeting and report back to the Legislature.