Updated 11/15/2012 10:00 PM
Broome County approves new road use agreement
In an effort to protect its infrastructure, Broome County passes new legislation regulating traffic on its roads. YNN's Chris Whalen tells us what's included in the bill and how much it will cost companies doing business in the county.
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BROOME COUNTY, N.Y. -- With 15 'ayes' and two 'nays,' the Broome County Legislature steered itself away from an earlier road use agreement to one that lawmakers think will help better protect local infrastructure.
"The ultimate goal is to protect the investment that the public has in our road systems and compensate the county for damages to those roads," said legislator Mark Whalen.
As part of the new legislation, any company operating vehicles with three or more axels that travel more than one hundred miles of county property during a five consecutive day period will be required to purchase permits.
The cost will be $50 per vehicle or a blanket permit for $250 for an entire fleet. However, companies can file for a waiver with the county that would exempt them from the permitting process, a portion of the new law that doesn't sit well with some legislators.
"While I do agree that certain parts of the law have been improved over the old law, the new part is the exemptions and that's a poison pill I'm not willing to swallow," said legislator Jason Garner.
But those if favor of the new measure say waivers are not likely to be the norm for companies that fit the permit criteria.
"It's one thing to say they can be exempt from them, but they have to prove a hardship. Just like anything else we have in county laws, if someone can prove a hardship, it's up to the legislative body to prove that hardship or not," said legislator Jerry Marinich.
And proving that will be a more open procedure under the new version of the law, as it will have to be voted on by the entire legislature for approval.
"Therefore, the public would know about it. A lot of things are done in back rooms around here, and I didn't want to see any special favors given to certain contributors," Whalen said.
The public will also have a chance to voice any concerns with the legislation at a public hearing, which must be held before any local law is signed by the County Executive.