Transportation bills hit bumpy road
Most transportation bills hit a bumpy road this year.
Lawmakers dumped a proposal to borrow through new bonds next year for more road projects, though a list of roads will get built. They killed another proposal to ban teenagers from talking on cellphones while driving. They also rejected a bill that would allow higher speed limits in freeway express lanes than in other lanes.
Also dying: a move to allow cyclists to run red lights in some instances, such as when left-turn signals fail to detect them; a resolution calling for an end to airport full-body scans and pat-downs; and a move to decrease how often vehicles must have emissions tested.
But a bill did pass that would reduce the frequency of safety inspections. They would now be needed on years four, eight and 10 of a vehicle's life, and every year thereafter. Until now, the law required them every other year through the eighth year of a car's life, and then annually.
Because of a rash of accidents at TRAX crossings, a bill passed that would clearly outlaw going through rail crossings when lights are flashing even if gates are just starting to rise or lower.
Also passing were bills saying that drivers age 19 and older would no longer need to take driver-education courses; a bill that would fix a loophole to clarify that texting while driving is illegal even if the driver doesn't hit the send button; and a bill that would outlaw following emergency vehicles too closely.
Lawmakers also approved a measure to allow half-year registrations for motorcycles or trucks mostly used for recreation to save owners money.