The Business Council supports this legislation that would allow certain vehicles of a utility company engaged in a defined “critical service business” the ability to access the State parkway system. Currently, the vehicle and traffic law prohibits large commercial vehicles from utilizing the state parkway system. This is an antiquated and unnecessary restriction, especially in light of the fact many of the same vehicles used by public utilities are already allowed on parkways and highways if used for passenger non-commercial vehicles.
The current prohibition forces light duty commercial vehicles being used to service critical infrastructure onto local roads which adds unnecessary travel time, there by impeding repairs and threatening public safety in certain situations. This extra travel time also is both inefficient and drives up the cost of fuel and the useful life of the vehicles. In addition, the extra time taken to reach and repair infrastructure can be dangerous to the community if the maintenance or repairs to infrastructure are urgently needed.
This bill would designate an electric corporation, gas corporation, combined electric and gas corporation, cable television company or telecommunications corporation, and a transportation company as a “critical service business.” These companies would be able to have their vehicles access state parkways as long as the vehicle is registered or leased to a critical service business; the operator has in his or her possession a valid work order; the vehicle has a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 8,500 lbs.; the vehicle meets the height restrictions for any such parkway; the vehicle is operating with all external running lights on and an amber revolving light located on the roof of the vehicle is engaged; and the vehicle is subject to an approved certificate of insurance.
The Business Council is traditionally in favor of removing antiquated and burdensome regulatory requirements that drive up the cost of doing business and act as a logistical impediment to businesses properly serving their customers. The current prohibition makes it extremely difficult for utility companies to reach critical infrastructure for repairs or maintenance which puts the public at risk.
For these reasons we strongly recommend adoption of S.284.