If you had the slightest doubt that President Obama was onto something when he suggested improvements in federal regulations, get a load of this …
Federal regulations limit truck weight on interstate highways to 80,000 pounds. That sounds reasonable enough, except that Quebec, New York, New Hampshire and Massachusetts are permanently exempt. So when perfectly legal 100,000 pound trucks come rolling over the border into Vermont or Maine, they must hustle right off the interstate and poke along the narrow back roads over mountains and through little country towns. Brilliant, eh?
Theoretically, regulations like this are supposed to be about safety. So what is it that miraculously makes a 100,000 pound truck that’s unsafe in Maine or Vermont suddenly safe again the minute it crosses the border into Quebec or New Hampshire? Or makes that same 100,000 pound load safer on secondary roads and in school zones than it is on the interstate? Good questions!
Senators Leahy and Collins noticed this peculiar state of affairs, and about a year ago persuaded the Obama administration and the Congress to allow Vermont and Maine to operate under the same rules as their neighbors for a one-year pilot program, which expired in December. As you might imagine, the study demonstrated conclusively that there were plenty of benefits to eliminating this bizarre regulatory inconsistency. So an extension was included in December’s budget bill, but that was blocked by Republican senators. Mother would like to send them to their rooms until they learn how to stop behaving like brats and start using some basic common sense, but she’s afraid that would take too long.
Because this ridiculous inconsistency is unsafe, expensive and inconvenient for residents and truckers, and it needs to be fixed right now! So she’s sorry she called them brats and asks them kindly to do the right thing and stop picking on the poor folks in Vermont and Maine. Senators Collins and Leahy have announced that they are introducing a standalone bill to make the pilot program permanent and create some blessed consistency in the rules of the road for all of us here in New England.
Check out this announcement for the complete scoop, courtesy of Senator Collins:
Or if you’d rather read than watch, you can find Senator Collins’ report here: Moving Maine’s heaviest trucks off secondary roads, onto federal highways
and Senator Leahy’s here: Leahy announces effort to move heavy truck traffic from state roads to interstates
Now, by all means if there’s good reason to believe that the higher weights are actually unsafe everywhere, then Mother will be glad to support reducing the limits uniformly instead of the other way around, but she suspects that if that were the case, the pilot program evaluation would have made that clear, and apparently it did no such thing, in fact quite the opposite. So let’s support our voices of reason on this one, shall we?
Thank you, senators! And good luck!!!