Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) has re-introduced legislation aimed at keeping larger and heavier commercial trucks off the road by extending the federal size and weight restrictions on commercial trucks to include the entire National Highway System (NHS). This marks the second piece of legislation in recent months to address the issue of larger commercial vehicles, making it increasingly likely that truck size and weight will be debated when Congress begins working to reauthorize surface transportation programs next year.
The current federal law that restricts tractor trailers to 80,000 pounds only applies to the 47,000-mile interstate system. Lautenberg's bill, "Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act of 2013” (SHIPA), would expand that to include the entire 220,000 miles of the NHS. The bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and has been referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works. A companion bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.).
In February, Reps. Mike Michaud (D-Maine) and Reid Ribble (R-Wis.) reintroduced legislation (H.R. 612) that would allow states to increase the weight limit on their stretches of the interstates. The bill would also make permanent a pilot program in Maine that allows the operation of heavier trucks.
The Department of Transportation is required under the last transportation bill to issue a report on increased size and weight limits by November 2014.
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