Opposition to studded winter tires gain traction; Washington officials consider ban or permits


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SPOKANE, Washington — Opposition to studded winter tires is gaining traction in Washington state, transportation officials say.

Joe Tortorelli, vice chairman of the Washington State Transportation Commission, supports phasing out studs to save millions on highway and street maintenance. The equipment is used when it snows and can damage streets.

"I think it's time," he told The Spokesman-Review (http://bit.ly/1Dwz6C5 ) last week.

Banning the use of studded tires is one of the recommendations in the commission's 20-year transportation plan. Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota already have banned studs, Tortorelli said.

Some Washington state lawmakers also are pushing to restrict studded tires. Bills in the state House and Senate would require drivers to purchase a permit each year to use studs, with the money helping repair roadway ruts.

The House version calls for a $100 annual permit, with a violation carrying a $500 fine. The Senate version calls for a $75 annual permit with a $75 fine.

Studded tires are legal in Washington from Nov. 1 to March 31. But new snow tires without studs provide good traction and safety, Tortorelli said.

Information from: The Spokesman-Review, http://www.spokesman.com

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