Session Update: Transportation and Public Works

This post summarizes the status of various transportation and public works bills that MACo took a position on.

Unauthorized Signs on Highway Rights-of-WayHB 289/SB 410 would authorize removal of improperly placed signs on highway rights-of-way by state or local authorities, and authorize a civil action to recover costs of their removal or disposal.  MACo supported the bill because it would assist in the beautification of public roadways and provide reasonable authority for state and local governments to remove improperly placed signs.  Status:  HB 289 has passed the General Assembly and SB 410 is moving towards final passageMACo Testimony

Towing Task Force LegislationHB 356/SB 570 would implement the recommendations of the Task Force to Study Motor Vehicle Towing Practices. MACo is concerned with language in the bill that states that a motor vehicle towing and storage lienor may not sell the motor vehicle to which the lien is attached unless the lienor is licensed by the local jurisdiction.  MACo suggested that this language be amended to clarify that it only applies to those local jurisdictions that currently license towers, retaining the bill’s intended incentives, without a local mandate.  This amendment was not adopted, however MACo is seeking a letter from the Attorney General to clarify that the bill does not mandate or imply that jurisdictions that currently do not license must do so.  Status:  Although each bill has passed out of its respective chamber, they are in different forms which will be resolved in a conference committee. MACo Testimony

Motor Carrier Permits for Local Public Transportation SystemsHB 431/SB 402 would exempt a public transportation system established under the public laws of a county government or municipal corporation from the motor carrier permit required for a passenger motor vehicle used in the transportation of persons for hire.  Currently, local transportation systems are regulated by local government, the PSC, the MTA, and the Federal government depending upon the sources of funding used for operations.  MACo supported this bill to streamline and create efficiencies in the process.  MACo did however,  seek an amendment so the bill would also apply to local governments that entered into contractual arrangements with non-profit entities to manage and operate transportation systems on their behalf.  Status:  SB 402 has passed the Senate with the amendment and has been heard in the House.  HB 431 is awaiting action by the House Economic Matters Committee. MACo Testimony

Purchasing of Street LightsHB 905 would allow a local government to purchase street lighting equipment from an electric company either through an agreement that is reached with the electric company or through a condemnation proceeding. If equipment is purchased through a condemnation proceeding, the bill specifies items that must be considered by a jury in determining the fair market value of the lighting equipment. HB 905 seeks a fair and just process for local governments to purchase street lighting equipment. MACo believes this bill could serve to stop the stalemates that have occurred thus far when local governments have expressed interest in purchasing street lighting equipment. Status:  HB 905 was given an unfavorable report by the House Economic Matters CommitteeMACo Testimony

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