Sunday, December 12, 2010

Maine's experiment in higher truck weight limits opposed by railroad interests, control freak politicians, and nanny-statists

Maine has engaged in a pilot project raising truck weight limits to 100,000 lbs. on federal interstates in that state.  And for multiple good reasons.  (20 states have an exemption to the federal 80,000 lbs. limit, but not Maine or neighboring Vermont, for instance.)  But the usual suspects are hitting the brakes, ending the pilot project December 18, according to the Bangor Daily News:
Maine will be put back at a disadvantage compared with surrounding states and Canadian provinces, all of which have a federal interstate weight limit of at least 100,000 pounds.
“It makes absolutely no sense,” said [Maine transportation commissioner David] Cole. “We seem to be at the mercy of national groups, and I don’t think they understand Maine’s situation. That’s unfortunate because Maine has a very compelling case. We seem to be caught up in their national politics.”...
[U.S. Rep. Mike] Michaud said numerous members of both the House and Senate are “adamantly opposed” to higher truck weight limits because they fear that giving more states exemptions will lead to an increase in the limits nationwide. In addition to safety groups, there are also business interests at play, he said.
“Quite frankly, it’s the railroads who are the most opposed to it,” Michaud said Friday. “They are concerned that they would lose money, but I do not buy that argument. Here in Maine, part of the problem is that rail transport is unreliable.”

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