SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Governor signs highway safety bill


June 25, 2007

Alaska Governor Palin signed HB 126 on Friday, June 22. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Kyle Johansen (R-Ketchikan), chairman of the House Transportation Committee, addresses highway safety and licensing for commercial drivers.

"Updating and improving our commercial driver's licensing and safety laws will reduce the number of crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving commercial motor vehicles on Alaska's roads," Johansen said. "The state was notified by the federal government it was out of compliance and facing severe penalties. We reviewed the problem and quickly passed a bill affecting 5 different chapters of Title 28 to fix the problems"

The federal law Alaska was noncompliant with is the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 (MCSIA).

Johansen noted that passage of HB 126 means Alaska will maintain $7 million in federal highway construction funds in federal fiscal year 2008 and approximately $14 million a year in succeeding federal fiscal years; nearly $63 million over a five year period.

"While this bill maintains Alaska's cut of the federal-aid highway funds, the real accomplishment is safer roads," Johansen continued. "Commercial driver safety is vital to all Alaskans."

MCSIA requires more vehicle and operator inspections, stronger enforcement measures against violators, and effective commercial driver's license testing and record keeping efforts.

"This bill also makes good business sense," Johansen said. "Another penalty the state and the trucking industry were facing was the loss of the ability to issue commercial driver's licenses for driving between Alaska and another state or country. We had to avoid that penalty. HB 126 preserves the ability of those Alaskans who hold commercial driver's licenses to work in interstate commerce."

The bill takes effect July 1, 2007.


Sources of News:

Office of the Governor

Office of Rep. Kyle Johansen


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska