Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has introduced legislation that would allow trucks to carry up to 100,000 pounds on federal highways when diesel prices are at least $3.50 a gallon.
The Commercial Truck Fuel Savings Demonstration Act of 2008 would boost increase truck weight limits from the current 80,000 pounds, Collins said in a statement on her Web site.
“The rapidly growing price of diesel is putting an increasing strain on our trucking industry, which is the cornerstone of our economy,” said Collins said at a press conference at the Maine Motor Transport Association’s headquarters in Augusta, Maine.
“Current laws that force trucks carrying more than 80,000 pounds off the federal interstate system, and onto smaller, two-lane roads, simply do not make sense. This legislation would lessen the fuel cost burden on truckers by putting these trucks back on the federal interstate where they belong,” she said.
The legislation would create a two-year pilot program that would permit trucks carrying up to 100,000 pounds to travel on the federal interstate system whenever diesel prices are at or above $3.50 per gallon;
It would also require the Government Accountability Office to complete a report about safety and other concerns at the completion of the pilot program;
Raising the weight limit would allow trucking companies to put more cargo in each truck, thereby reducing the numbers of trucks needed to transport goods, Collins said.
Trucks carrying up to 100,000 pounds would no longer need to move off the main federal highways where trucks are limited at 80,000 pounds and take less direct routes on local roads requiring considerably more diesel fuel and extended periods of idling during each trip.
Trucks traveling on the interstate system would save on fuel costs due to the vastly superior road geometrics of the interstate system as compared to the rural and urban state road systems, she said.