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September 22, 2009 4:00 PM, EDT

Senate Passes DOT Approps Bill, Retains Maine Weight Provision

The Senate approved legislation increasing the funding for the Department of Transportation in 2010, leaving in a provision that would allow Maine to increase the weight limit on Interstate 95 to 100,000 pounds.

The bill, which made annual appropriations for DOT and other agencies, passed 73-25 on Sept. 17 and would direct $122 billion into highways, transit and other items in the 2010 fiscal year – 12% more than is currently being spent.

“This bill invests in the building blocks of economic recovery – safe and efficient transportation, affordable and accessible housing, and improved national infrastructure,” said Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said the weight provision has been “one of my top priorities,” and added that she thought “the result will be improvements in safety, decreases in energy use and emissions, and economic benefits.”