Suppose, a federal survey of your state’s bridges found 73 bridges that were built below interstate standards and an additional 200 bridges that were designed for trucks weighing no more than 80,000 pounds (when trucks much heavier are already on the road). That might be a little reason for concern, considering the catastrophic collapse of an interstate bridge last summer in Minneapolis.
Unless, of course, you were a state official in Maine. In that case, you would ask the Federal Highway Administration permission to allow trucks weighing up to 105,000 pounds to have access to those very bridges.
A coalition of truck safety groups, including Public Citizen, has asked the feds to reject the request and while they’re at it, the groups also asked the Federal Highway Administration to make public their survey of bridges. Public Citizen has posted the letter.
The logging industry, which is a powerful lobby group in that part of the country, says the heavier weight limits for trucks will help them consolidate loads and save on soaring fuel costs.
Trading public safety for greater profits seems like Faustian bargain if I’ve ever heard one.