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Overdrive Staff | May 01, 2011

A coalition of 444 organizations has sent letters to Congressional leaders requesting funding be restored for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, citing its importance as a national environmental, health and budgetary priority.

When it was reauthorized in December, DERA’s authorization level had been cut from $200 million annually for five years to $100 million annually for five years. In February, DERA was eliminated altogether from President Obama’s 2012 budget proposal.

“The DERA program has proven to be a significant environmental, health and budgetary success throughout the entire United States,” said Allen Schaeffer, of the Diesel Technology Forum.



HIGHWAY HAPPENINGS

NEW HAMPSHIRE. The Memorial Bridge will be replaced with funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the state Department of Transportation. The bridge between Portsmouth, N.H., and Kittery, Maine, is closed to truck traffic. Trucks moving goods from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard are forced to detour.

NEW JERSEY. The state began an idling ban on 2007 model year and older trucks on May 1. Idling is permitted by trucks with engines that meet or exceed 2007 model year engine specifications. Idling exemptions also apply to vehicles being serviced or repaired, vehicles slowed in traffic and vehicles stopped for three or more hours when temperatures dip below 25 degrees, which are allowed to idle for 15 minutes.

NORTH CAROLINA. Traffic will be altered over the next three years as construction continues on I-295 in Fayetteville. This project will complete I-295 from N.C. 210 to I-95, giving Fort Bragg a direct connection to the interstate.

TENNESSEE. Lanes of I-24 in Chattanooga will be closed overnight and on various weekends for a resurfacing project. Work will be completed during evenings and early mornings. Work is scheduled through August.

TEXAS. Speeds could ramp up to 85 mph for certain new roads in the state, according to a bill in the state legislature. The higher speeds could be authorized on highways built after June 1. The state already has more than 520 miles of I-10 and I-20 posted at 80 mph during the day for cars. Trucks are limited to 70 mph.



Bill targets higher truck weight limits

Federal truck weight reform legislation that would give each state the flexibility to raise interstate weight limits has been reintroduced in the U.S. Senate.

The Safe and Efficient Transportation Act (S. 747) is sponsored by Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio).

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