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State updates impacting the transportation industry.

Utah plans to expand infrastructure for charging electric vehicles

Utah will receive $36 million, funded by the National Infrastructure Program, which plans the installation of a total of 15 points to be equipped with new fast charging stations for electric vehicles in Utah, including a Pilot Flying J Travel Center in Snowville.

According to state authorities, combining financing with private funds, the state will invest a total of $43 million in electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Which will double Utah’s electric vehicle fast charging network.

The Utah Department of Transportation announced in a press release that by the end of 2024, electric vehicle owners will have the ability to travel on all Utah interstates, as well as U.S. Highways 6 and 191, with access to fast charging stations.

Utah will initially allocate $17.5 million to provide public access to fast electric charging stations every 50 miles along the state’s interstates. Although these stations are owned and operated by private companies, they will be available to the public 24/7.

Lyle McMillan, director of strategic investments for the Utah Department of Transportation, said this first phase is designed for light electric vehicles, but the state has already requested funding to develop charging infrastructure for medium and heavy electric vehicles.

Houston: Consider implementing a truck route plan to improve safety and efficiency

Houston is closer to implementing a comprehensive truck routing plan that could make a significant impact on the way truckers transport goods in the city. According to a municipal document dated November 9, the initiative seeks to address the projected 60% increase in freight tonnage between 2015 and 2040.

The primary objective of this new plan is to improve multimodal safety, raise the quality of life, preserve the integrity of infrastructure, increase efficiency and promote economic vitality. This approach becomes crucial given the continued growth in the movement of goods in the region.

The scope of the plan would cover all commercial vehicles with three or more axles, as well as trucks weighing more than 26,000 pounds. The proposed truck routes would fall into three categories:

Through Truck Routes: Designated for commercial vehicle traffic that cross the city on interstate highways, state highways, toll roads, and urban corridors critical for the transportation of goods.

Local Truck Routes: main roads that connect truck routes with local destinations, serving as alternatives in case of closures due to construction or emergencies.

No Passage Streets: segments of road where the passage of trucks is prohibited, intended only for local access. Access would be permitted for the collection or delivery of goods, construction materials, or solid waste to or from properties within the city.

Commercial vehicle operators who do not use designated routes may face an obligation to provide evidence of the route or destination used. This approach seeks to balance growing logistics activity with the need to maintain safety and efficiency on the roads of Houston, the fourth largest city in the US.

Michigan: The Senate approves increasing the weight of electric trucks

The Michigan Senate voted 23-14 in favor of a bill coming from the House of Representatives that will allow weights of up to 82,000 pounds for electric trucks, an increase from the 80,000 pounds currently allowed.

In 2017, the state moved to allow trucks powered primarily by natural gas to reach weights of up to 82,000 pounds, mirroring a federal weight exemption. This latest legislation seeks to extend the same weight allowance to electric trucks.

Bill SB501, sponsored by Senator Darrin Camilleri, seeks to allow an electric truck tractor to exceed current axle loads and weight load limits by up to 2,000 pounds. However, the gross weight of an electric tractor-trailer or a combination thereof with a semi-trailer would still be limited to 82,000 pounds.

Supporters of the legislation argue that this increase in the weight limit is essential, as heavier equipment is needed to effectively power trucks that operate on electric batteries and natural gas. Camilleri highlighted that this change would allow shippers to adopt electric trucks without sacrificing the cargo capacity they can carry.

Despite certain reservations, the Senate has given the green light to SB501 to advance to the Transportation, Mobility and Infrastructure Committee of the House of Representatives.


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