Rep. Loge provides information from Transportation Interim Committee
Between sessions of the Montana Legislature, interim committees are appointed to discuss past bills and areas of interest for future bills. A few weeks ago, the transportation committee met with a variety of topics. One topic was the past legislation, House Bill 661, which changed the aviation fuel tax, the airplane registration, and the grant program for airports.
The intent of the bill was to help set up a program for airports to repair runways and infrastructure to improve the safety of our airports, especially those dealing with fire protection and emergency services.
So far it is showing to be a great success with the number of airports being awarded grants has over doubled since the passage of this bill.
Some other topics of discussion for future meetings are the electric vehicle increased use and a form of registration to pay for the road use cost, similar to the gas tax.
The infrastructure needs created for charging stations. A topic many people are not aware of or concerned with is the use of autonomous vehicles.
Associated questions that will be addressed in future discussions are animal/vehicle collision studies, liability responsibilities, platooning of semi truck trailers, and associated regulations for operation.
The topic of bicycle safety, highway department obligations for pedestrian and bicycle paths, and the cost and payment of these paths.
A review of billboards is listed as a future topic as well as reviewing the guidelines for establishing memorial highways. The next committee meeting is scheduled for January but if you have any thoughts or questions on any of these topics please contact me.
One other topic came up that deals with an immediate problem, an aluminum
shortage. The Department of Motor Vehicles is finding a shortage in the supply chain for aluminum for making license plates.
This may cause them to give out a temporary plate made of plastic or form of cardboard. The committee requested the Governor to extend the renewal of license plates beyond the current five-year requirement but no action has been taken in that direction as of today.
Representative Denley M. Loge, St. Regis