Sen. Collins’s pilot program would yield safer highways and greener, more efficient shipping

The Coalition for Transportation Productivity (CTP), an advocacy group of more than 100 shippers and allied associations dedicated to responsibly increasing federal weight limits on interstate highways, applauded the US Senate for passing legislation enabling Maine to conduct a one-year pilot program allowing 100,000-pound, six-axle trucks on interstates within the state. Sen. Susan Collins’ (R-ME) included the provision in the FY 2010 Transportation-HUD Appropriations Bill, which passed recently.

‘Sen. Collins’ program will make Maine’s roads safer and greener by allowing producers to consolidate freight on fewer trucks and minimize both their fuel use and emissions,’ said CTP Executive Director John Runyan. ‘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.’

‘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,’ continued Runyan. ‘Manufacturers feeling the economic pinch can reduce their shipping costs and preserve valuable jobs.’

The FY 2010 Transportation-HUD Appropriations Bill passed by a vote of 73 to 25. The provision must now be approved by a House Senate conference committee before it can take effect.

CTP supports The Safe and Efficient Transportation Act of 2009 (H.R. 1799), sponsored by Reps. Michael Michaud (D-ME) and Jean Schmidt (R-OH). The bill would allow heavier ‘not larger’ trucks on interstates by giving each state the option to increase its interstate vehicle weight limit to 97,000 pounds for trucks equipped with a sixth axle for safety. Without changing truck size, the additional axle maintains current braking capacity and weight-per-tire-distribution and minimizes pavement wear. A user fee imposed by the bill would fund vital bridge repair.

The Coalition for Transportation Productivity (CTP) is a coalition of more than 100 shippers and allied associations dedicated to increasing the vehicle weight limit to 97,000 pounds on federal interstate highways for vehicles equipped with an additional axle as a way to address the safety, economic and environmental challenges facing our nation’s freight transportation network. CTP supports a user fee on units equipped with the additional axle to be used for bridge repair. (CTP)