Agency overturns Boston hazmat ban

| November 18, 2009

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has ruled federal law preempts Boston’s de facto ban on hazmat hauling through the city.

The FMCSA published its determination Monday, Nov. 16, in the Federal Register in response to the American Trucking Associations’ and the Massachusetts Department of Highway’s request for a ruling.  

Federal law preempts certain highway routing requirements Boston instituted in 2006 because the city failed to comply with FMCSA’s standards for establishing or modifying a hazmat route, the agency said. Boston instituted the ban because of the change in administration of the city’s hazmat permitting system.

The decision is effective May 17, 2010, which would allow time for Boston officials to comply with federal requirements. Last year, the agency published a notice of the ATA’s application for the ruling and received responses nearly entirely supporting the association’s position.

Petitions for reconsideration of this decision must be submitted to the FMCSA by Dec. 7.
The revisions at issue were implemented in the building of the Big Dig, or the Central Artery Tunnel, which moved underground a portion of Interstate 93 through Boston.

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