In November 2011, Senator Susan Collins, then Ranking Member on the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, included a 20-year pilot program in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 appropriations bill that raised the federal truck weight limits on Maine’s Interstate highways from 80,000 lbs. to 100,000 lbs. through 2031. Under the previous law, trucks weighing as much as 100,000 lbs. were only permitted to travel on Interstate 95 from the border of Maine with New Hampshire, to Augusta, Maine. From there, trucks weighing more than 80,000 lbs. were forced off Interstate 95, which proceeds north to Houlton, a distance of over 200 miles driving through more than 270 intersections, 30 traffic lights, 86 crosswalks, and nine school crossings. As a result, these heavy trucks were forced onto smaller, secondary roads that pass through our local downtowns and communities. Raising the federal weight limit in Maine has prevented heavy trucks traveling on local roads from putting Maine citizens and motorists needlessly at risk. Senator Collins, who is now Chairman of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, successfully included a provision in the transportation division of the FY 2016 Omnibus Appropriations bill that makes the truck weight limit provision permanent law.
This bill has now been signed into law.