New Jersey wants to add older trucks under 96 inches in width to restrictions the state imposed on out-of-state trucks in July.
Those restrictions ban 102-inch-wide trucks not domiciled in the state to roads that are part of the National Highway Network. For the most part, that means Interstate highways such as 80, 287 and 95. For a good part of its length, 95 is the New Jersey Turnpike, a toll road. The ban has the effect of forcing out-of-state trucks to pay Turnpike tolls.
Tuesday, the New Jersey Department of Transportation announced those earlier restrictions have been made permanent. They were originally issued as an executive order by Gov. Christine Whitman.
A New Jersey DOT spokesman said extending the ban to older, narrower trucks is being "actively considered." The state, he explained to the Newark Star-Ledger, is convinced there are no legal barriers to expanding the ban.
Sam Cunninghame, executive director of the New Jersey Motor Truck Assn., said adding 96-inch-wide trucks to the ban already in place would not have a significant impact because most interstate trucks are in the 102-inch category.
New Jersey Motor Truck members, who are headquartered or have terminals in the state, are exempt from the rule.
Next week, New Jersey legislators will consider a bill setting fines for violators. The bill contains a provision that would empower local police to enforce the ban. If passed, it would mean suspected violators could be stopped in virtually any township along restricted former truck routes -- which are still open to New Jersey trucks regardless of width.