Vail CO, Colorado
Kudos to State Rep. Dan Gibbs for his persistence trying to keep Interstate 70 flowing on weekends.
Gibbs ” who represents Summit and Eagle counties ” and Sen. Joan Fitz-Gerald, whose district includes Summit County, have sponsored a pair of bills increasing fines for truckers who fail to obey chain restrictions on mountain highways.
The first bill died quickly in committee, after the state trucking industry opposed it.
The legislators took a second shot at a bill after dropping possible penalties against truckers’ driver’s licenses, but kept fines as high as $1,000 for truckers whose failure to chain up results in an interstate shutdown.
The legislators also landed a commitment from the Colorado Department of Transportation to create safer chain-up areas along I-70. That second version of the bill passed its first committee test last week.
Anyone who’s ever tiptoed around stalled trucks in a storm, or has been stuck in traffic because a trucker failed to put on chains, is rooting for this bill.
It will save drivers time, and can help keep our primary economic lifeline open during storms.
Most importantly, it will keep us safe.
The cost of highway closures can add up quickly. State transportation officials estimate that highway closures can cost the state’s economy $800,000 per hour on busy weekends.
The bill still has several hurdles to clear before it can land on Gov. Bill Ritter’s desk.
If it does, Gibbs will have done his constituents some good in his first legislative session.
” Scott Miller for the Editorial Board