Chain law foreshadows big picture
The chain law bill being championed by Rep. Dan Gibbs, D-Silverthorne, should give hope to the rookie lawman to find more solutions for Interstate 70 congestion.The bill, which if passed into law would increase fines for truckers who don’t chain up during snowstorms, was voted out of committee last week, but wasn’t killed. Gibbs brought it back to debate on Monday, which resulted in a $1.2 million commitment from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to improve chain areas like Silverthorne or East Vail. We applaud Gibbs’ tenacity – the current $100 fine seems too weak to change trucker habits or corporate policies. We need an efficient east-west link between a rapidly growing Front Range and West Slope, and the proposed chain law – $500 and four points on a trucker’s driver’s license for chain violations – would be an important step. Monday’s recognition from CDOT should help Gibbs maneuver the chain law out of committee and shepherd it onto the House floor. If it would pass into law, it bodes well for him and those he represents in the I-70 corridor, including constituents, commercial lobbies, CDOT and law enforcement. But don’t plan a celebration quite yet. Gibbs, the vice-chair of the House Transportation Committee, still must change the minds of some of his fellow lawmakers, who voted down the bill because they said current chain laws first should be enforced more aggressively.They have a strong point. Similar commitment from Colorado State Patrol is needed to make this bill work. And until we see more large-scale support, we will continue to be skeptical of whether any expensive recommendation for extra lanes or public transportation will be handled responsibly, or listened to at all.
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