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Overdrive Staff | December 01, 2011

U.S. Senate Republicans blocked a $60 billion White House proposal to repair transportation systems as part of President Obama’s American Jobs Act.

All 47 Senate Republicans, one Democrat and one independent voted Nov. 3 against the bill that was part of Obama’s $447 billion stimulus plan. The bill would have allocated $50 billion for infrastructure spending and $10 billion in loan funding.

— Staff reports


HIGHWAY HAPPENINGS

ARIZONA. The state has applied with the Federal Highway Administration to toll 29 miles of I-15 in the northwest corner of the state. The target of the tolls would be out-of-state users, including truckers. Tolls would pay to rebuild the interstate, beginning in 2015, the state said.

MISSOURI. The state Department of Transportation received a $1 million federal grant to build new truck parking spaces on Interstate 70. The state will meet with trucking companies to decide where to locate additional truck parking. Construction is set to begin in late 2012.

NEVADA. Starting Jan. 1, police may ticket drivers who are using handheld cell phones or text messaging behind the wheel. Fines start at $50 and go up to $250. Thirty-four states prohibit texting while driving.

NORTH DAKOTA. It’s now illegal to text-message while driving in the state. The primary offense, which means police can stop the operator for that offense, could result in a $100 fine.

OHIO. Ohio Turnpike tolls will increase about 10 percent Jan. 1. Trucks generate about 60 percent of the 241-mile toll road’s revenue, while accounting for 22 percent of the traffic. E-ZPass rates for six-axle trucks that are more than 7 ft., 6 in. high will go to $50 from $45. Tolls for drivers who don’t have E-ZPass will rise to $61 from $55.

OREGON. A recent inspection of truckers’ log books placed 22 percent of drivers out of service, the state Department of Transportation Motor Carrier Division said.

PENNSYLVANIA. The state has enacted a ban on texting while driving, which will take effect in March. If caught for the primary offense, a driver could face a $50 fine. A tougher ban on handheld cell phone use while driving was stripped from the legislative bill that went to the governor for signature.

TEXAS. A six-mile stretch of U.S. 77 near Corpus Christi has been designated Interstate 69. The state plans to gain federal approval to convert other sections of U.S. 77 and other federal highways to I-69. Other pieces of I-69 exist in Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi and Tennessee, as part of a long-range plan to extend the interstate from Mexico to Canada.

UTAH. About 12 miles of State Route 14 frequently used by truckers will be closed for months to make repairs after a recent landslide, the state says. The landslide destroyed about a quarter-mile of the highway that runs between Cedar City and U.S. 89.

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