Kevin Gray
KU Statehouse Wire Service
After President Obama passed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act in 2015, Kansas Department of Transportation legislative coordinator Josh Powell realized Kansas needed new statutes.
“(These bills are) to bring the state into compliance with federal law under the FAST Act,” Powell said in support of Senate Bills 375 and 391 before the House Transportation Committee.
Senate Bill 375 would allow tow-away trailer transporters of up to 82 feet on all Kansas highways. According to assistant revisor of statutes Adam Siebers, the bill would allow trailer transporter combinations if the total length does not exceed 82 feet but would not allow empty transporters of over 26,000 pounds on highways. Under current state law, the limit is 60 feet in length.
Senate Bill 391 would allow emergency vehicles of up to 86,000 pounds to drive on all Kansas highways. Current state law limits vehicle weight on the interstate to 80,000 pounds.
The FAST Act authorized $305 billion over 2016 to 2020 for infrastructure improvements, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Improvements included upgrading highways for higher vehicle weight capacity.
According to Powell, the Act also statutorily increased federal interstate weight capacity from 85,500 pounds to 86,000.
Powell said the weight increase would affect large fire trucks. According to the International Fire Chiefs Association, the bill would allow two additional fire truck types to drive on Kansas highways: the Aerial Platform Mid Mount Tandem Rear Axel firetruck and the Aerial Platform Rear Mount Tandem Rear Axel firetruck, both weighing up to 86,000 pounds.
“This is just to bring us into compliance with the FAST Act again,” Powell said.
No opponents were present for either bill.
Both bills await further action.
Kevin Gray is a University of Kansas senior from Denver studying journalism and linguistics.