by Rep. Rick Mason – Appeared in the Lisbon Ledger Dec. 2, 2023
As winter arrives in Maine the inevitable snowfall that blankets our roads, parking lots, and driveways is a fact of life. Managing the clean-up of winter storms requires the Town of Lisbon to rely on an efficient public works’ department as well as individual private contractors to plow the snow.
Last winter, it was brought to my attention that private snowplow contractors were being pulled over by state police because they had a plow that was over nine feet, a violation of the law. The Maine DOT and many of our municipalities currently operate plow trucks with plows that, according to our local public works, are eleven feet or wider.
A local contractor from Lisbon was pulled over and informed he was in violation of having an over width plow. He was provided a warning by the State Police. The State Trooper who gave him the warning advised that someone needed to submit a bill to change the law because law enforcement had been directed to pull plow trucks over whom they suspected were in violation.
In response to this situation, I submitted legislation (LD 687 – An Act to Increase the Allowable Width of a Snowplow) which increased the maximum allowable width of a vehicle with a snowplow and equipment mounted on the vehicle traveling from one work location to another work location during a storm event from 108 inches to 126 inches. It also included travel from the point of purchase to a storage location.
Fortunately, a majority of the Legislature’s Transportation Committee, the House of Representatives, Senate, and Governor agreed that private snowplow contractors were being treated unevenly and the legislation was adopted into law. The new law is in effect for this winter’s snow plowing season.
The objective of this new law is to protect Maine people who are working and performing a valuable service for our community and to establish fair regulatory treatment for both our public and private snowplow operators.