Gov. John Baldacci has signed a bill into law that makes Maine one of nearly 30 states to offer an incentive to reduce truck idling. It takes effect Sept. 17, 2009.
The new law in Maine increases the maximum gross vehicle, axle weight limits for large trucks equipped with idle-reduction technology. Previously LD37, the new rule authorizes trucks equipped with auxiliary power units to weigh up to an additional 400 pounds.
Rep. Ken Theriault, D-Madawaska, said that the weight exception removes the disincentive that otherwise would keep truckers from using APUs.
“In this economy we need to provide any assistance we can to assist Maine truckers,” Theriault told lawmakers during recent discussion on the bill. “A reduction of 400 pounds in cargo is a major loss in hauling potential and represents an economic disincentive for using these units.”
Theriault also said that the state’s commitment to reducing its dependence on foreign oil is well served by the weight exception.
States were granted federal authority in 2005 to allow heavy-duty trucks to exceed the 80,000-pound maximum weight limit to encourage the use of idling-reduction equipment.
Officials with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association have long advocated adoption of the 400-pound exemption.
“It was the intent of Congress that the 400-pound exemption become law in all states,” Joe Rajkovacz, OOIDA’s regulatory affairs specialist told Land Line. “The Association supports the exemption as reasonable because it’s another inducement to install an APU onto your truck.”
About 20 states do not allow 400-pound exceptions for APUs. Other states looking to add the provision this year include Florida, Indiana and Virginia.
To view other legislative activities of interest for Maine in 2009, click here.
– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor
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