Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Part 5: Know your governors

Election Day is less than one month away. And voters around the country have likely already noticed the increased frequency of ads touting candidates or issues, as well as ads berating those same candidates and issues.

With all of the messages that voters must sift through in the lead-up to Nov. 2, it is worthwhile to revisit some noteworthy actions taken by governors who are vying for re-election.

You can read recaps of notable actions from governors in several of these states on the Land Line November Elections site. The recap below focuses on Gov. Ted Strickland in Ohio.

One of the more notable actions taken in recent years by a governor was in Ohio. During the 2009 session, Gov. Strickland signed a two-year transportation budget, which included a provision to do away with split speed limits on mostly rural and suburban interstates.

Truckers, who had been pushing for the change for years, cheered the governor’s decision. A story in Land Line at the time described the breakthrough in policy in Ohio as a “sweet triumph for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and its members.”

“It feels great to add Ohio to the list of states that have eliminated split speeds, thanks to a long campaign by OOIDA to inform and reform bad safety policy,” said Todd Spencer, executive vice president of OOIDA. “The only speed limit policy that makes sense is to have all vehicles traveling at the same speed. It is a welcome change in Ohio that is long overdue.”

While the law eliminated the slower speed for trucks on interstates, speed limits on U.S. routes, state routes and other multi-lane divided highways were unaffected.

OOIDA and Ohio truckers continue to tout to lawmakers the advantages of uniform speeds on all roadways in the Buckeye State.

Another notable action taken by Strickland was his decision to remove from the two-year budget a provision to prohibit overweight and overdimension permit fee increases.

Strickland said in a veto statement, “this provision deprives the Department of revenues that are necessary to maintain operations and preserve the Ohio transportation system.”

A year earlier, in 2008, Strickland signed a bill into law that allowed trucks traveling state or local highways to haul three steel coils at 120,000 pounds. Previously, Ohio law limited those loads to 92,000 pounds. However, trucks transporting one or two steel coils under permit can now weigh up to 120,000 pounds.

In the countdown to Election Day, be on the lookout for more blogs about governors on fall ballots and their actions on truck-related issues.