A Fiscal Year 2010 Transportation-Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill that passed the U.S. Senate by a vote of 73 to 25 included a one-year pilot program allowing 100,000-lb, six-axle trucks on interstates within the state of Maine. It must still be approved by a House Senate conference committee before it can take effect.
The pilot program provision authored by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) temporarily exempts Maine's interstate highways from the federal truck weight limit ostensibly to prevent heavier trucks from being forced off the highway onto smaller, secondary roads that pass through cities, towns, and rural neighborhoods.
“The heavier weight limit will reduce risk by giving trucks access to a multi-lane interstate system engineered for heavy commercial vehicles, and the ability to leave the rural roads they are currently forced to use,” said John Runyan, executive director of the Coalition for Transportation Productivity (CTP), an advocacy group of more than 100 shippers and allied associations that seeks to raise truck weight limits nationwide.
“This pilot program will also allow Northeastern producers to more efficiently export goods to Canada, a country that already allows trucks to carry more weight,” Runyan added. “Manufacturers feeling the economic pinch can reduce their shipping costs and preserve valuable jobs.”