Daily dispatch, March 9: Court denies RIDOT petition to rehear truck tolls case

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Trucking news and briefs for Monday, March 9, 2020:

Rhode Island DOT petition to have truck tolls case reheard denied
In another small victory for opponents of trucks-only tolls, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First District has denied a petition from the Rhode Island Department of Transportation for a rehearing of the case over tolls, which will keep the case under federal jurisdiction.

A judge ruled in December that ruled that the American Trucking Associations’ lawsuit over the tolls could be heard in a federal court. RIDOT challenged that ruling in January to try to keep the case in state courts.

A district court ruled in March 2019 that Rhode Island’s tolls were considered taxes under the Tax Injunction Act, which says federal courts do not have jurisdiction over state taxes. ATA’s lawsuit argues that the tolls discriminate against interstate trucking companies and are unconstitutional because they “impede the flow of interstate commerce.”

The case will now proceed in U.S. district court unless Rhode Island decides to appeal further to the Supreme Court.

Michigan DOT has expanded its seasonal weight restrictions for trucks.Michigan DOT has expanded its seasonal weight restrictions for trucks.

Michigan expands weight restrictions
Beginning Monday, March 9, the Michigan Department of Transportation is expanding its seasonal weight restrictions.

Restrictions will be enforced on all state highways north of a line from Michigan 40 in South Haven east to U.S. 131 in Kalamazoo County, then south to I-94 and east to I-69, then north to Lansing and continuing east on I-69 to Port Huron. This includes the entire Upper Peninsula.

According to MDOT, in the restricted areas, the following will apply:

  • On routes designated as “all-season” (designated in green and gold on the MDOT Truck Operators Map), there will be no reduction in legal axle weights
  • On routes designated as “seasonal” (designated in solid or dashed red on the MDOT Truck Operators Map), there will be a posted weight reduction of 25 percent for rigid (concrete) pavements and 35 percent for flexible (asphalt) pavements
  • All extended permits will be valid for oversize loads in the weight-restricted area on the restricted routes. Single-trip permits will not be issued for any overweight loads or loads exceeding 14 feet in width, 11 axles and 150 feet in overall length on the restricted routes.