Permit please

by Derek Clouthier

FOX CREEK, Alta. — Trucks carrying overweight and oversized loads will incur an additional expense as of July 1 if drivers want to pass through Fox Creek, Alta.

Town council agreed to begin charging carriers with a fleet of up to 10 trucks a $100 per year permit fee to use municipal roads in an effort to recover some funds to help maintain roads the town said are deteriorating as a result of overweight vehicle use.

Though some reports have indicated trucking companies have been caught off-guard by the move, Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) president Chris Nash said it is not uncommon for municipalities to require and charge a fee for a Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) permit.

“This becomes very difficult to manage, as the requirements of a company delivering multiple loads to the same location must enter into a Road Use Agreement as per bylaw 804-2018,” said Nash, adding that those that do not abide by the law are subject to a $5,000 fine
per offense.

TAC permits fall under the Traffic Safety Act and were created to allow for the movement of overweight and over-dimensional loads on municipal roads. Carriers wishing to haul more than 17,000 kg on any tridem axle group, including in the middle of a super B, must have a TAC permit. Municipalities like Fox Creek, as well as Edmonton back in 2016, have begun to enforce these permit requirements.

Nash said for these permit fees to be avoided, there needs to be a plan from all levels of government to find a financial solution for municipal infrastructure needs.

“With the amount of taxes paid by the commercial transportation industry with fuel tax as well as carbon tax, this cost should not fall back to the transportation industry to finance,” he said. “If each municipality took on this approach, the financial impact on the transportation industry would increase substantially, therefore, increasing transportation costs for shippers and finally for consumers.”

This is a concern for the AMTA, not just for financial reasons, but safety as well.

“If Fox Creek sets the precedence with these bylaws and Whitecourt and Valleyview take the same approach,” said Nash, “depending on the driver’s vehicle configuration, it may result in essentially no safe place for drivers to stop with proper facilities on Highway 43 from Edmonton to Grande Prairie/Peace River without having to pay out of pocket.”

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