Congress proposes both freezing, expanding truck size and weight limits

Published May, 09 2013

While the Department of Transportation has scheduled its first truck size and weight outreach session May 29, Congress has reintroduced opposing legislation — one bill would freeze the limits, another would expand them.

The last transportation reauthorization bill requires the DOT to complete a comprehensive study of the issue by November 2014. The May 29 event will be the first of four sessions for stakeholders to comment on the study.

On May 7, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced the Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act, which would apply an 80,000-pound and 53-foot limit for tractor-trailer trucks to the entire National Highway System. Currently these restrictions apply only to Interstates.

SHIPA would expand the current freeze of triple-tractor trailer operations on Interstates to the NHS, but exemptions would exist, such as for firefighting equipment.

This year marks the seventh consecutive year SHIPA has been introduced. The bill, which has not been assigned a number yet, has three co-sponsors.

Conversely, Rep. Mike Michaud introduced the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act Feb.12. The Maine Democrat’s bill would allow states to increase Interstate truck weights to 97,000 pounds. SETA or H.R. 612 would require these tractor-trailers have a sixth axle to decrease per-tire weight and improve braking.

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