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Senator Susan Collins (R-ME)

U.S. Senator Susan Collins, along with her colleagues, Sens. Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Herb Kohl (D-WI), today introduced the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act of 2010 that would permanently increase truck weights from 80,000 to 97,000 pounds on the Interstate System for any state that decides to opt-in to the plan.

The Safe and Efficient Transportation Act would allow states to authorize heavy trucks to operate on the Interstate System, provided the truck is equipped with six axles, the weight on any one axle does not exceed 20,000 pounds, and the gross weight of the vehicle does not exceed 97,000 pounds. States may issue exemptions on the weight-per-axle component of the law. The bill also requires any state seeking to change its Interstate weight limit to do so by state statute.

In December 2009, Senator Collins, a member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, was successful in including a provision in the Fiscal Year 2010 Transportation Appropriations Bill that established a one-year pilot project to exempt Maine’s federal highways from the 80,000 pound federal truck weight limit. The program is currently set to expire on December 18th, 2010. Senator Collins is working to extend that exemption.

“This legislation will finally create a level playing field for truck weight limits on Interstate highways in all states, including Maine, which has been at an economic disadvantage for too long because of discrepancies in truck weight limits. A uniform truck weight limit will keep trucks on the Interstates where they belong, rather than on the secondary roads that pass through our downtowns and residential areas. I believe the results will be fewer accidents, lower fuel use and emissions, and more jobs for truckers and industries dependent on trucking.”

The Maine Motor Transport Association and the Coalition for Transportation Productivity have strongly endorsed this legislation.

Source: Senator Collins’ Office