Rankin’s I-70 snow tire bill advances | PostIndependent.com

Rankin’s I-70 snow tire bill advances

Rep. Bob Rankin

A bill that would specify winter tire requirements for passenger vehicles on the Interstate 70 mountain corridor passed the Senate Transportation Committee on Thursday.

Rep. Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, a co-sponsor of the bill which already passed the House, said by telephone Friday that clearing the committee on a unanimous vote makes the chances of passage good.

Two Western Slope Republican senators, Transportation Committee chairman Randy Baumgardner, whose district includes Garfield County; and Ray Scott of Grand Junction, joined the 5-0 committee vote.

The bill would clarify the current chain law to specify requirements for passenger vehicles. It would require that passenger vehicles have adequate tread depth on their tires or carry chains or other traction devices from Nov. 1 to May 15 from Morrison to Dotsero on I-70.

Beyond safety issues, I-70 closures are costly to commerce and tourism and are often caused by drivers with bad tires, Vail Mayor Andy Daly told Colorado Mountain News Media last year. Daly said that last winter, 22 road closures on Vail Pass were caused by private vehicles, 18 of which had no snow tires or bad tires.

“I think it’s an important bill,” Rankin said. “It lets us educate the public.”

Among those testifying before the Senate committee in favor of the bill were the Colorado State Patrol, Colorado Department of Transportation, and trucking and ski industry representatives. No one testified against it.

One objection to the bill has been that it would impose costs on poorer residents, but Rankin said it’s possible to get a set of traction devices for as little as $25 — “not that much compared to the overall cost of operating your car.”

The bill now advances to a vote of the full Senate.

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