Missouri Lawmakers Mull Transportation Legislation

Article excerpt

JEFFERSON CITY * Amid the risk of losing millions of dollars in federal transportation funding, Missouri lawmakers are considering changes to rules for commercial drivers licenses.

Legislation advancing at the Missouri Capitol seeks to comply with federal regulations dealing with learning permits for commercial licenses and with restrictions on texting and the use of hand-held cellphones by people who are driving commercial vehicles.

Failing to act quickly enough eventually could cost Missouri $30 million for one year and $60 million annually after that, the state Department of Transportation said.

Lawmakers in the House gave initial approval to their measure this past week, and the bill needs another round of approval before it can move to the Senate. Two weeks remain for legislators to approve new bills before their mandatory adjournment May 17.

Rep. Dave Schatz, chairman of the House Transportation Committee and sponsor of the legislation, said that the bill was straight- forward and that he was confident it would pass. Schatz, R- Sullivan, said he did not like it when the federal government "bullied" to get its way, but he noted that it had the authority to withhold money it provides to states. …

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