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Making the Case Against Bigger and Longer Trucks on Capitol Hill

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Connecting state and local government leaders

STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Alaska budget pain … Utah hepatitis A outbreak is over … and Kentucky’s governor sends Louisville mayor critical letter.

Good morning, it’s Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. Transportation safety leads Route Fifty’s state and local government news roundup but scroll down for more from places like Pitkin County, Colorado; Dayton, Ohio; and Montgomery County, Maryland. … ALSO ON ROUTE FIFTY … Riders Aren't Quitting Transit—Just Using It Less OftenTrump Administration Releases Rural Broadband InitiativeRepublican Senator Says Infrastructure Proponents Need to Be RealisticThe Next E-Scooter Headache: Hackers Latest School Superintendent Salary Figures Highlighted in New Research

Let’s get to it.

TRANSPORTATION | A delegation of Michigan police chiefs are headed to the nation’s capital to lobby Congress on trucking safety as part of the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks, which is fighting efforts by Amazon, FedEx and UPS, among other shipping companies, to allow longer trucks with two 33-foot trailers in all 50 states. Heavier and longer trucks have impacts on infrastructure and raise safety concerns, due to the additional time and distance needed to stop. “Michigan is already home to some of the heaviest trucks in the nation, but most abide by the national standard due to the inability to travel far out of state at the heavier weight," Grand Blanc Township Police Chief Ron Wiles said. "But you don't have to drive far to see the impact these trucks have had on our roads and bridges.” Among the organizations that form the coalition: the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians, National Troopers Coalition, National Sheriffs’ Association, International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Association of Counties and National League of Cities, among others. [WJRT; Coalition Against Bigger Trucks] … Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s plans to expand the Interstate 270 and the Capital Beltway outside the nation’s capital to accommodate toll lanes could be stymied by state lawmakers from Montgomery County who have introduced three bills that  indirectly take aim” at the plan. [Bethesda Magazine]

GOVERNORS | California Gov. Gavin Newsom fired back at a tweet from President Trump demanding the state return already appropriated federal funding for the state’s high-speed rail project. [@GavinNewsom; Los Angeles Times] … While Newsom and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham have announced plans to pull National Guard troops from the U.S.-Mexico border, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey plans to keep them stationed along the border. [Arizona Daily Star] … Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin sent Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer a letter on Wednesday saying that the mayor has been “oblivious” to the Louisville Metro government’s growing pension problem, which may necessitate budget cuts or raising taxes. [WFPL; Courier Journal] … During a televised news conference from Juneau on Wednesday, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy says that every resident of the 49th State will feel the pain of state budget cuts as the governor and state lawmakers face a $1.6 billion budget deficit. [Anchorage Daily News]

CITY HALLS | Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg will be leading a new California state commission on homelessness and supportive housing. [Capital Public Radio] … In her State of the City address on Wednesday, Dayton, Ohio Mayor Nan Whaley announced new initiatives to reduce evictions and reduce the burdens people face when their cars are towed for unpaid fines, things that help keep them trapped in poverty. “We must look unflinchingly at the impact on our communities of color and people living in poverty,” she said. “For these Daytonians, it may feel like they have been in free-fall for years—and they don’t have a parachute at all.” [Dayton Daily News] … Honolulu City Councilmember Heidi Tsuneyoshi wants a “forensic audit” of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit procurement processes and the city’s management of rail contracts. [Honolulu Civil Beat] … After a long dispute over the hiring of a city manager, City Council members in Fairfield, Alabama voted this week to remove Mayor Ed May II from office. [AL.com]

WORKFORCE | In Pennsylvania, a black Liquor and Control Board employee who was falsely accused of trying to rob a state-owned liquor store can’t sue the agency for discrimination according to a federal judge in the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. [PennLive] … In Palatine Township, Illinois school district mechanic “is suing his former union and the district for a refund of dues he says he paid unwillingly,” citing last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME. [Daily Herald]

PUBLIC HEALTH | The Utah Department of Health has declared that the state’s hepatitis A outbreak, which infected 281 people and killed 3 people over two years, is over. [Gephardt Daily] … In Pitkin County, Colorado, an effort to provide improved access to mental health services “appears to be paying off in a big way.” [Aspen Times] ...

Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Route Fifty and is based in Seattle. 

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