- Briefing Room
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
GUIDANCE ON SPECIAL PERMITS EXPIRATION
1. Does the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act supersede the 120-day limitation for the duration of special permits issued under 23 U.S.C. 127(i)?
A. No, the CARES Act merely clarifies that, through September 30, 2020, special permits can be issued under 23 U.S.C. § 127(i) if the President has declared an emergency under the Stafford Act. This provided clarity regarding whether 23 U.S.C. § 127(i) applied only to “major disasters.” It did not change the requirement under section 127(i)(2) that a special permit expire no later than 120 days after the declaration of the emergency or major disaster.
2. If not, does the Special Permits authority expire on July 11, 2020, or 120 days after the last individual statewide Presidential disaster declaration? If it did supersede the 120-day limit, is this a fiscal or calendar year deadline?
A. The President determined a national emergency exists under the Stafford Act on March 13, 2020; therefore a State’s authority to issue permits expires on July 11, 2020. The CARES Act provision has no impact on the 120-day limit.
23 U.S.C. § 127(i) provides:
(i) Special Permits During Periods of National Emergency.-
(1) In general.-Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, a State may issue special permits during an emergency to overweight vehicles and loads that can easily be dismantled or divided if-
(A) the President has declared the emergency to be a major disaster under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. § 5121 et seq.);
(B) the permits are issued in accordance with State law; and
(C) the permits are issued exclusively to vehicles and loads that are delivering relief supplies.
(2) Expiration.-A permit issued under paragraph (1) shall expire not later than 120 days after the date of the declaration of emergency under subparagraph (A) of that paragraph.
The CARES Act provides:
Sec. 22003. For the duration of fiscal year 2020, section 127(i)(1)(A) of title 23, United States Code, shall read as if and apply to situations in which: the President has declared an emergency or a major disaster under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. § 5121 et seq.).
This FAQ does not have the force and effect of law and is not meant to bind the public in any way. It is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency regulations.