Bill would allow larger vehicles on interstates - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Bill would allow larger vehicles on interstates

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (KWWL) -

Lawmakers have reached a $63 million agreement to extend the Federal Aviation Administration's operating authority. The FAA has been operating under short term extensions since 2007. The most recent extension expires February 17.

A provision the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act introduced Tuesday would raise the federal weight limit for trucks on highways by 17,000 pounds.  With proper permits, trucks weighing as much as 126,000 pounds would be permitted. The bill would also increase the length limit on large semis with two and three trailers by 10 feet.  In some cases, big rigs longer than 100 feet would be allowed on highways.

Opponents of the bill say the higher weight and length limits would have serious safety consequences.

"If there was ever a recipe for disaster, this is it," said Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-New Jersey, chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation. "We all value the importance of trucks to our economy, to our recovery... but the trucks have to share the roads with our families, and that's why we're never going to let trucks take a priority over the well-being of our families."

Backers of the bill say states can limit the safety concerns by requiring a sixth axle on the largest vehicles. The extra axle would add an additional braking system, allowing the larger vehicles to stop in the same distance as lighter trucks.

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