Anti-idling law clears Macon City Council

Macon City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved an ordinance that limits the length of time for which city owned or operated vehicles may idle.

In most cases, violators face a fine of up to $500 if their car idles for more than 15 minutes. Exceptions are made for cold weather, natural gas or electric vehicles and vehicles that need to run their engines to perform work.

Although some council members expressed concern that the law would be difficult to enforce, Councilman Rick Hutto, the sponsor, said the goal was to educate people, help the environment and gain points with federal officials. Macon is on the verge of being labled a “non-attainment” area — meaning the city’s air quality does not meet Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for ozone quantities.

Local officials say legislation like the anti-idling law impresses those people making the ultimate decision on Macon’s non-attainment status.