01.13.10

Leahy Applauds State Action On Pilot Program To Get Heavy Trucks Out Of Vermont Downtowns

...Governor Signs Bill Allowing State To Implement Leahy-Authored Program

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Wednesday applauded the Vermont Legislature and Governor Douglas for moving quickly to implement a federal pilot program to reduce heavy truck traffic in downtown communities across Vermont.  The bill won approval in the Vermont House and Senate on Tuesday, and Governor Douglas signed it into law Wednesday afternoon.  In December, Leahy authored federal legislation to establish a one-year pilot program in Vermont to allow heavier trucks to travel on the state’s Interstate highways.

Federal law had capped Interstate truck weights nationwide at 80,000 pounds.  Since the State of Vermont allowed heavier trucks on its state and local roads, the federal limits forced many higher-weight trucks to use smaller roads through residential areas and downtowns.  Under the Leahy-authored pilot program, heavier trucks will be able to access Interstates in Vermont for one year while federal and state transportation experts evaluate the impact of heavier trucks on highway safety, bridge and road durability, commerce, and energy use.

“The impact of heavy trucks running through our downtowns is felt in communities all across Vermont,” said Leahy.  “The Vermont Legislature and Governor Douglas moved quickly to implement this federal pilot program at the state level, and the information we glean from it will help the federal government evaluate whether these restrictions are sound.  With this program, we will determine the best approach to addressing heavy truck traffic in our downtowns, preserving and maintaining our Interstates, and moving commercial goods throughout Vermont.”

Leahy, who is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its transportation subcommittee, worked to include the provision in the annual transportation funding bill, which was signed into law by President Obama late last year.

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