Truckers Win Small State Battles

A 1999 regulation banning trucks that did not have a New Jersey origin or destination from using New Jersey roads under 11 feet wide was struck down by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. That court said the ban was unconstitutional and discriminated against interstate commerce. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case, letting the Appeals Court decision stand.

In a separate issue, the Virginia Department of Transportation decided to withdraw plans to build tolled truck-only lanes on Interstate 81.

“We’re pleased that VDOT has changed its direction and moved away from tolled truck lanes,” said Bill Graves, president and CEO of the American Trucking Associations (ATA). “Toll lanes create two classes of drivers. Those who can afford to pay a toll and those who cannot. This causes traffic diversion to other, often less safe, roads. Therefore it was not something we could support.”

According to ATA, the STAR Solutions consortium proposed the construction of tolled truck lanes along I-81 four years ago as a means of managing traffic. Under that plan, passenger vehicles would operate on existing toll-free lanes while trucks would pay tolls starting at 37 cents per mile to use the 325-mile highway.

ATA and the Virginia Trucking Association led opposition through a strong grassroots effort and public relations campaign, which was conducted in conjunction with Smart Solutions, a broad-based coalition founded by the two associations, said ATA.

VDOT said it changed its position on tolled truck-only lanes after planning studies and public involvement activities indicated that future traffic estimates for numbers of cars and trucks on I-81 did not support building a separate roadway for trucks.

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