MUNICIPAL OVERWEIGHT PERMITS FOR TRUCKS
Vermont is the only state in USA in which a local municipal overweight permit program exists. The fact that as many as 246 separate town permits may be needed to operate heavy trucks in every town can be daunting. Since the early 1990s VFPA has been talking to the Vermont League of Cities and Towns (VLCT) and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) on how to either eliminate these programs or at least streamline it, getting nowhere. Perhaps, now, something will change. Those of you that have had to obtain these permits and/or have been fined for not having a municipal overweight permit is well aware of this perplexing issue.
VFPA participates as an active member of the Vermont Coalition for Employment and Prosperity (VCEP). Regular meetings take place of leaders and lobbyists of the various business associations to discuss current issues in the statehouse. We work to educate each other and strategize on a response or launch an initiative. Examples may be a letter all members sign, delivered to committee or general assembly members or we may coordinate a series of testimony from key lobbyists and leaders. The issues tend to be broad in nature that impacts the general business community such as minimum wage and paid family leave. If it is an issue that impacts a narrower set of sectors, we will form a sub-group to accomplish a similar goal as a response or initiative.
Trucking is broad and the case of local municipal overweight permits most businesses are affected by this issue. The issue is well defined, below, by William Smith, Lobbyist for the Vermont Truck and Bus Association. He and one of his members, Barrett Trucking has voluntarily shared details of each town’s program and municipal contact information to be helpful to our trucking community. The files can be found on the VFPA website, vtfpa.org . VFPA thanks Bill Smith and Joe Barrett for sharing this important and valuable information.
To VFPA members needing Local Road Permits:
On March 31, a new year begins for municipal overweight permits for trucks.
Joe Barrett of Barrett Trucking has very generously shared with us his spreadsheets for obtaining municipal overweight permits, including contact information. I expect that members of VFPA need municipal permits in Vermont, as most town roads are rated for 24,000 pound maximum.
This means if you have a delivery truck anywhere other than the interstate, state highways, or class 1 Town Highways you need a permit. It generally costs $5 for a single trip, or $10 for your whole fleet for the whole year. Some towns have a slightly different fee structure, and the Addison County Sheriff will coordinate all Addison County town permits for an additional fee of $60.
This is NOT related to ‘mud season’ or special closures of specific roads. That will still be a factor. However, having a municipal permit in the truck can and will save our members thousands of dollars. For example, an 80,000 vehicle on a 24,000-pound road will receive a ticket in excess of $4,300. A 35,000-pound delivery truck will receive a ticket of $270. To these would be added significant judicial bureau fees. In short, no matter what type of truck your company uses, if it is over 24,000 pounds it needs a permit in nearly every town in Vermont.
I believe this may also apply to bus companies that contract for student transportation. There is no clear exemption for them, though municipal police likely would not want to ticket a bus full of kids in their town.
All in all, a very oppressive situation for the trucking industry, which is receiving heightened scrutiny as towns seek to protect their infrastructure. For example, we were informed today that Vergennes now has an officer certified in truck weight documentation and ticketing.
We are working to improve permitting for trucks in Vermont, and the DMV is moving toward an online permitting solution for state permits. DMV will also likely be tasked by the Legislature to review the possibility of eventually including municipal permits in the online program.
Until the current situation changes, these three spreadsheet files will help members obtain necessary permits and stay on the right side of the law.
And THANK YOU, again, to Barrett Trucking for sharing their spreadsheets.
William S. Smith, Esq.
William S. Smith, Esq.
Law Office of William S. Smith
32 Depot Square
PO Box 456
Northfield, VT 05663