A proposal to keep alive the state of Maine’s 100,000-lb. truck pilot program has been included in an omnibus government funding bill in the Senate. The provision to continue the program for an additional year was included at the request of Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME).

The measure would continue the pilot program that allows vehicles equipped with a sixth axle to run as heavy as 100,000 lbs. on Interstate highways in Maine.

The program is scheduled to expire at the conclusion of the day on Friday, Dec. 17, 2010. A U.S. House funding bill passed last week did not include a provision to keep the pilot going..

“Thanks to Sen. Collins, it’s likely that truck transportation in Maine and Vermont will continue to be safe, efficient and productive in the coming year,” said John Runyan, executive director of the Coalition for Transportation Productivity (CTP).

“The pilot’s extension is certain to be a tremendous victory for national truck weight reform,” he continued. “CTP continues to work with Congress to enact the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act so that all states will have the option to move heavier traffic from state roads, where intersections, school crossings and driveways complicate the drive, to interstate highways that are safer and better engineered for heavier loads.”

CTP represents a group of 180 shippers and allied associations dedicated to increasing federal truck weight limits.

The full Senate must still pass the omnibus funding bill and send it back to the House for its approval.