Secretary Ward Requests Feedback on Act 1085 and List of Critical Routes to Ag Industry

Thu, July 27, 2017

The 2017 Arkansas General Assembly passed Act 1085 which states that "The State Highway Commission may issue a special permit valid for one (1) year authorizing the movement of a truck tractor and semi-trailer combination with a minimum of five (5) axles hauling agronomic or horticultural crops in their natural state that exceed the maximum gross weight as provided in 27-35-203 but do not exceed a total gross weight of one hundred thousand pounds (100,000 lbs.)." Further, Act 1085 states that "the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department in coordination with the Arkansas Agriculture Department shall promulgate rules necessary to implement this subdivision..."

We are working with Director Scott Bennett and his staff at the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department on this issue and we are requesting feedback on the following:

(1) What is an appropriate fee for the special permit?

(2) How many permits do we expect to be issued?

(3) What is the typical vehicle configuration? Number of axles? Spacing between

axles? Are there other factors that need to be considered regarding vehicle

configuration?

(4) What are the routes that will be traveled by users of the special permit? What is the

point of origin and point of destination? Are alternative routes available?

(5) Is there an estimated number of trips that are expected to be made using the special

permit?

Act 1085 did not have an emergency clause and as a result the law does not become effective until August 1, 2017. As of now, the plan is that the Highway and Transportation Department will draft the regulations regarding the special permit and present them to the Arkansas State Highway Commission at their next meeting on September 6, 2017. The regulations will then be subject to a 30 day public comment period prior to be submitted to the Arkansas Legislative Council for consideration.

In addition, we are also working to provide the Highway and Transportation Department with a list of routes that are critical to Arkansas’s agriculture industry. If you have a route that you would like to be considered please let us know.

We would like to get the information concerning Act 1085 back to the Highway and Transportation Department as soon as possible and are requesting your feedback by Friday, August 4, 2017.

Feel free to contact myself at wes.ward@aad.ar.gov or Cynthia Edwards at Cynthia.edwards@aad.ar.gov if we can assist in any way.

Please feel free to disseminate this to any interested parties that may want to contribute.