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  H.B. No. 2319
 
 
 
 
AN ACT
  relating to the operation of certain overweight vehicles on
  highways; imposing a fee.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 621.101, Transportation Code, is amended
  by adding Subsection (b-1) to read as follows:
         (b-1)  Notwithstanding any other provision of this section,
  a vehicle or combination of vehicles that is powered by an engine
  fueled primarily by natural gas may exceed any weight limitation
  under this section by an amount that is equal to the difference
  between the weight of the vehicle attributable to the natural gas
  tank and fueling system carried by that vehicle and the weight of a
  comparable diesel tank and fueling system, provided that the
  maximum gross weight of the vehicle or combination of vehicles may
  not exceed 82,000 pounds.
         SECTION 2.  Subchapter B, Chapter 623, Transportation Code,
  is amended by adding Section 623.0172 to read as follows:
         Sec. 623.0172.  PERMIT FOR INTERMODAL SHIPPING CONTAINER.
  (a)  In this section, "intermodal shipping container" means an
  enclosed, standardized, reusable container that:
               (1)  is used to pack, ship, move, or transport cargo;
               (2)  is designed to be carried on a semitrailer and
  loaded onto or unloaded from:
                     (A)  a ship or vessel for international
  transportation; or
                     (B)  a rail system for international
  transportation; and
               (3)  when combined with vehicles transporting the
  container, has a gross weight or axle weight that exceeds the limits
  allowed by law to be transported over a state highway or county or
  municipal road.
         (b)  The department shall issue an annual permit for the
  international transportation of an intermodal shipping container
  moving by a truck-tractor and semitrailer combination that has six
  total axles and is equipped with a roll stability support safety
  system and truck blind spot systems only if:
               (1)  the gross weight of the combination does not
  exceed 93,000 pounds;
               (2)  the distance between the front axle of the
  truck-tractor and the last axle of the semitrailer, measured
  longitudinally, is approximately 647 inches;
               (3)  the truck-tractor is configured as follows:
                     (A)  one single axle that does not exceed 13,000
  pounds;
                     (B)  one two-axle group that does not exceed
  37,000 pounds, in which no axle in the group exceeds 18,500 pounds;
  and
                     (C)  the distance between the individual axles on
  the two-axle group of the truck-tractor, measured longitudinally,
  is not less than 51 inches and not more than 52 inches; and
               (4)  the semitrailer is configured as follows:
                     (A)  one three-axle group that does not exceed
  49,195 pounds, in which no axle in the group exceeds 16,400 pounds;
  and
                     (B)  the distance between the individual axles in
  the three-axle group of the semitrailer, measured longitudinally,
  is 60 inches.
         (c)  The department shall restrict vehicles operating under
  a permit issued under this section to routes that are:
               (1)  located in a county with a population of more than
  90,000;
               (2)  on highways in the state highway system; and
               (3)  not more than five miles from the border between
  this state and Arkansas.
         (d)  An intermodal shipping container being moved under a
  permit issued under this section must be continuously sealed from
  the point of origin to the point of destination with a seal that is
  required by:
               (1)  the United States Customs and Border Protection;
               (2)  the United States Food and Drug Administration; or
               (3)  federal law or regulation.
         (e)  A permit issued under this section does not authorize
  the operation of a vehicle combination described by Subsection (b)
  on:
               (1)  load-restricted roads or bridges, including a road
  or bridge for which a maximum weight and load limit has been
  established and posted by the Texas Department of Transportation
  under Section 621.102; or
               (2)  routes for which the Texas Department of
  Transportation has not authorized the operation of a vehicle
  combination described by Subsection (b).
         (f)  A permit issued under this subchapter does not authorize
  the transportation of a material designated as of January 1, 2017,
  as a hazardous material by the United States secretary of
  transportation under 49 U.S.C. Section 5103(a).
         (g)  An applicant for a permit under this section must
  designate each Texas Department of Transportation district in which
  the permit will be used.
         (h)  The department shall initially set the fee for a permit
  issued under this section in an amount not to exceed $2,000.
  Beginning in 2022, on September 1 of each even-numbered year the
  department shall set the fee for a permit issued under this section
  in an amount based on a reasonable estimate of the costs associated
  with the operation of vehicles issued a permit under this section
  over routes described by Subsection (c), including any increase in
  the costs necessary to maintain or repair those highways. The
  estimate shall be based on the results of the study conducted under
  Subsection (l).
         (i)  Of the fee collected under this section for a permit:
               (1)  90 percent shall be deposited to the credit of the
  state highway fund;
               (2)  5 percent shall be deposited to the credit of the
  Texas Department of Motor Vehicles fund; and
               (3)  5 percent shall be deposited to the appropriate
  county road and bridge fund.
         (j)  A fee deposited under Subsection (i)(1) may only be used
  for transportation projects in the Texas Department of
  Transportation district designated in the permit application for
  which the fee was assessed.
         (k)  The department may suspend a permit issued under this
  section if the department receives notice from the Federal Highway
  Administration that the operation of a vehicle under a permit
  authorized by this section would result in the loss of federal
  highway funding.
         (l)  Beginning in 2022, not later than September 1 of each
  even-numbered year, the Texas Department of Transportation shall
  conduct a study concerning vehicles operating under a permit issued
  under this section and publish the results of the study. In
  conducting the study, the Texas Department of Transportation shall
  collect and examine the following information:
               (1)  the weight and configuration of vehicles operating
  under a permit under this section that are involved in a motor
  vehicle accident;
               (2)  the types of vehicles operating under a permit
  issued under this section;
               (3)  traffic volumes and variations of vehicles
  operating under a permit issued under this section;
               (4)  weigh-in-motion data for highways located in and
  around the area described by Subsection (c);
               (5)  impacts to state and local bridges, including
  long-term bridge performance, for bridges located in and around the
  area described by Subsection (c); and
               (6)  impacts to state an
  d local roads, including
  changes in pavement design standards, construction specification
  details, maintenance frequency and types, and properties of
  pavement and underlying soils resulting from or necessitated by
  vehicles operating under a permit issued under this section.
         SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2017.
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 2319 was passed by the House on May 4,
  2017, by the following vote:  Yeas 143, Nays 0, 2 present, not
  voting; and that the House concurred in Senate amendments to H.B.
  No. 2319 on May 25, 2017, by the following vote:  Yeas 143, Nays 2,
  2 present, not voting.
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 2319 was passed by the Senate, with
  amendments, on May 23, 2017, by the following vote:  Yeas 31, Nays
  0.
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate   
  APPROVED: __________________
                  Date       
   
           __________________
                Governor