Government Affairs Albany UpdateJune 8, 2001
- Assemblyman Levy to address GAC
- DOT Divisible Load Permits for Trucks
- $6.75/hr. minimum wage rearing its head
Freshman legislator, Assemblyman Steve Levy of Suffolk County, will be our guest speaker at the June 12 meeting of the Government Affairs Council. The Business Council has also invited Assemblyman Paul Tonko to address the committee about the Assembly's recently announced Energy Plan.
At the meeting we will also provide highlights for other potential end-of-session issues. The meeting will begin promptly at 10:00 a.m., and will be held at The Business Council's Schuler Building.
On Tuesday, June 4th, The Business Council's Transportation Committee discussed the issue of divisible load permits for trucks. Currently, New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law limits permits for certain truck weight classes to a statewide total of 17,000. These include the 6 axle classes of both 107,000 lbs. (upstate) and 120,000 lbs. (New York City). Recently, the Department of Transportation has exhausted this total and has been forced to place applicants on a waiting list. This situation has impacted not only the trucking and transportation industry but also truck sales.
There is an effort underway to secure an additional 5,000 permits thus increasing the aggregate number to 22,000 overall. A number of provisions have been included in the proposal to increase the number of permits. At the June 4th Business Council Transportation meeting, the following proposals by the Department of Transportation were discussed by the committee in relation to divisible load permits;
- Adds 5,000 new permits to increase total to 22,000 statewide.
Creates a new statewide permit at 117,000 lbs for 7 axle
vehicles with a wheel base of at least 43 feet, for a few
of $900 per vehicle. New axle can be on tractor or trailer.
12/31/03 requires any vehicle permitted at 79,000 lbs to
have 4 axles.
Phases out 120,000 lbs downstate permit. None to be issued
Prohibits "R" permitted vehicles from crossing
a posted bridge except after demonstrating special circumstances
to DOT and that the bridge may be crossed safely. Could
require an engineer's load rating of the bridge (estimated
$1,000-10,000). In no event shall a permitted vehicle of
more than 102,000 lbs cross a posted bridge.
Requires any vehicle 2003 or newer to have all non-steering
axles be equipped with 2 tires on each side of the axle.
Eliminates super singles on non-steering axles. The controls
for any lift axle must be outside of the cab. The weight
on any axle group be distributed so that no axle carries
less than 80% of the weight on any other axle in the group.
After 12/31/12 no permit shall be issued to any vehicle
that does not meet these specs.
Allows peace officer to seize a permit if not being operated
in compliance with terms of permit and where continued operation
can not be accomplished safely.
Allows Commissioner to conduct hearings with regard to the
seizure, reissuance, issuance or revocation of permits,
relating to violation of permits requirements.
Prohibits operation in violation of provisions of permit,
establishes fines of $300-$500. (Primarily special hauling)
Creates new statewide fine schedules, eliminates current
fine schedules creates separate schedules for operating
with or without a permit. There would be four fine schedules
- overweight gross overweight axle with a permit, overweight
gross, over weight axle, without a permit. The NYC schedule
would be eliminated.
Provides a tolerance of 5,000 lbs in excess of limits for
gross weight for a permitted vehicle. Once a vehicle exceeds
the tolerance the permit is considered void and a ticket
is issued for overweight as if there was no permit. For
unpermitted vehicles there is no tolerance.
Provides a tolerance of 5% in excess of limits for axle
weight for a permitted vehicle. Once a vehicle exceeds the
tolerance the permit is considered void and a ticket is
issued for overweight as if there is no permit. For unpermitted
vehicles there is no tolerance.
- Provides that if multiple weight violations arise from same instance, only one fine may be imposed, which is not to exceed the highest fine that could be imposed under the subdivision.
Those interested in this issue, and the above mentioned proposals, are encouraged to contact The Business Council. Since the issue of additional permits requires legislative approval, we are encouraging members to contact us as soon as possible due to the June 20th scheduled session recess.
This week, there were two actions in the state Senate involving minimum wage.
- S.4749 (Spano), which would raise the state minimum wage
to $6.75/hr. on 1/1/02 and create an automatic annual escalator
based on the annual change to the state's average weekly
wage, was on the Senate Labor Committee's meeting agenda
but was held aside at the meeting.
- S.2420 (Schneiderman) was amended to S.2420-A and recommitted to the Labor Committee.
While both of these bills show a "no same as" status, they both call for the same wage increase and automatic escalator.
- A.5132 The Assembly, meanwhile, passed a $6.75/hr. minimum wage bill on March 19, 2001. The only difference between this bill and the two Senate bills is that this bill's automatic annual escalator is based on the Consumer Price Index for New York and Northeastern New Jersey.
Since these bills are almost "same as," we continue to watch them closely as we move toward the end of the session.