WASHINGTON — A provision that would allow 100,000-pound trucks on Maine’s interstate highways permanently took another step toward success Wednesday, but the measure still faces major obstacles, such as the House of Representatives.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the provision, which was inserted into the 2012 transportation funding bill by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. The House’s version of the budget bill does not contain the truck weights language, though Rep. Mke Michaud, D-Maine, and Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, are both pursuing the change through separate bills.
Collins said support for the bill is widespread across Maine.
“Wherever I go in Maine — from the supermarket in Bangor, to the post office in Lincoln, to the China Dinah — people tell me that they want the heaviest trucks allowed to drive our federal interstates rather than being forced to use secondary roads and travel through crowded downtowns, like Bangor,” Collins said in a press release. “Safety is my top concern. My provision would not increase the size or weight of trucks. Maine law already allows trucks weighing up to 100,000 pounds to operate on state and municipal roads. But these same trucks are not allowed on the interstates, where it is safer for them to travel.”
The Senate transportation funding bill will now move to the full Senate for consideration.