Congress introduces opposing bills to freeze, expand truck size and weight limits

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Updated Apr 15, 2014

truck weightAs the Department of Transportation continues work on studying size and weight and its relation to safety — as mandated by the MAP-21 highway funding law passed last summer — two contrasting bills dealing with the issue have been introduced in Congress recently.

Just this week, New Jersey Democrat Sen. Frank Lautenberg introduced a bill that would cap an 80,000-pound, 53-foot limit on tractor-trailers for the entire National Highway System. The Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act would expand current restrictions beyond Interstates.

This is the seventh year in a row, however, that such legislation has been introduced.

In February, Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine) introduced into the House an act that would give states the power to increase truck weight limits to 97,000 pounds. The Safe and Efficient Transportation Act would require 97,000-pound tractor-trailers to have a sixth axle to decrease per-tire weight and improve braking.

The American Trucking Associations supports this bill, while the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and support freezing limits.

The DOT is holding an outreach session May 29 as part of its study. To attend, email

For more on this story and the legislation introduced in each chamber of Congress, see CCJ sister site Overdrive‘s article.