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Nov. 21, 2017
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Minutes for SB127 - Committee on Transportation

Short Title

Requiring an annual registration for escort vehicles.

Minutes Content for Tue, Feb 14, 2017

Chairperson Petersen opened the hearing on the bill.  Mr. Wells gave a briefing on the bill noting this would require beginning January 1, 2018, that every company that operates a escort vehicle service would register with the Secretary of Transportation every escort vehicle at a rate of $50.00 and provide certain information (driver's license, insurance, etc).  Anyone violating this section would be subject to a fine of $100.00 and fees collected would be sent to the State Highway Fund.

Should the Committee wish to work this bill, Mr. Wells indicated he has an amendment to change fees to be sent to the Secretary of Revenue instead of the Secretary of Transportation. The funds would still go to the State Highway Fund.

Senator Doll provided proponent testimony (Attachment 4) noting another term for escort vehicle is pilot cars, and they must accompany certain oversized or overweight vehicles.  He said none of the pilot cars behind trucks hauling wind blades in western Kansas have Kansas tags.  For transporting a wind blade, there are three pilot cars.  Senator Doll's constituents feel that for utilizing Kansas highways, a fee of $50.00 should be paid for each pilot car.  He added it is the responsibility of the pilot cars to know the laws of each state and the proposal is cost neutral and straightforward. 

In response to questions, Senator Doll said:

  • If escort cars are pulled over, there is communication among the vehicles if they must leave the road for a slight delay.
  • Texas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Utah, and Louisiana have escort car programs.  Mr. Wells added that the verbiage came from Louisiana.
  • He agreed to delaying the implementation date in order to educate persons involved.
  • This applies only to pilot cars with signage.
  • Wind farm owners and operators feel the pilot cars should be registered for using the highways rather than assuming economic development increases moneys available to Kansas in this case.

Tom Whitaker, Kansas Motor Carriers Association (KMCA), was asked to answer questions.  He noted rules and regulations governing oversized loads and requirement for escorts are in KDOT regulations under KAR 36-1-36 et seq., and they require escorts in certain areas, etc.  Not every oversized load requires an escort, and regulations are sent to all KMCA members. Trucks with loads more than 14 feet wide, of certain length and heights, and super loads (e.g., wind generators as well as blades) operating in Kansas must have proper registration through the International Registration Plan (IRP) uniform registration and the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration.  The key thing for this bill is if the weight is 26,000 pounds or less, it is not subject to IRP apportioned registration and so the state of Kansas would receive no registration moneys for the cars and small trucks usually used as escort vehicles.  Just like your auto when it crosses the state lines, there is no requirement for vehicles of that weight to be registered in every state. 

Chairperson Petersen asked if this applies to a steering vehicle considered to be a pilot vehicle.  Mr. Whitaker answered a separate vehicle is required to be registered.  A pickup could be used as a pilot car, depending if there is proper signage on the pilot vehicle for the oversized load.

Mr.  Whitaker added that most wind blade transports start outside this state, so the originating carrier could have pilot car requirements.  Because these vehicles are light weight but often are equipped with very large fuel tanks, they are not required to purchase fuel in Kansas, and under this bill with the amendment, they must have proper insurance and registration (revenue).

Mr. Whitaker was thanked for his part of this conversation.

Written opponent testimony was provided by the Kansas Department of Transportation (Attachment 5).

In regard to the Kansas Department of Transportation's written testimony, Senator Schmidt asked on the third paragraph down, next to the last sentence if KDOT should be changed to KDOR. Reid Petty will correct the testimony.

There was no opponents or neutral testimony.

The hearing on the bill was closed.