Florida transpo bill would expand tolling, allow weight exemption for anti-idle tech

floridaFlorida Gov. Rick Scott is expected to sign legislation that would allow tolling for highway expansion and a 550-pound exemption for trucks with idle reduction technology.

Lawmakers unanimously approved HB 7175 before sending the broad-reaching transportation bill to the Republican governor June 13. It would permit instituting tolls if a building a new highway or adding capacity such as express lanes to an existing one.

The bill would also permit heavy trucks exceed the maximum gross vehicle weight limit by up to 550 pounds to compensate for additional weight of auxiliary power units and other idle reduction technology.

If signed into law, Florida will join Maryland on Oct. 1 as the latest state to permit the 550-pound exemption.

Since 2005, U.S. law has allowed states to grant a 400-pound exemption for APUs without impacting eligibility for state highway funding. The 2012 transportation reauthorization act increased the weight states may elect to exempt for anti-idling devices to 550 pounds.

Colorado, Connecticut, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire Tennessee and Virginia currently permit a 550-pound exemption, according to an April Department of Energy summary. An additional 20 states have laws allowing a 400-pound exemption, while 15 other states accept this amount through enforcement policy rather than by law.

California, Hawaii, Kentucky, North Carolina, Rhode Island and District of Columbia do not offer an APU exemption, the DOE stated.

The bill also prohibits the state from entering into future lease-purchase agreements with any expressway authority or regional transportation authority.