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A trio of senators introduced a bill, the Safe Efficient Transportation Act, that would allow states to increase the maximum weight for trucks operating on their interstates beyond the federal limit of 80,000 pounds. 

Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) said in introducing the Safe Efficient Transportation Act that states would be allowed to "opt in" and increase their weight limits to 97,000 pounds. The legislation is identical to a bill introduced in the House last March by Reps. Michael Michaud (D-Maine) and Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) and would require the new, heavier trucks to have six axles in order to diffuse the added weight.

"This bipartisan legislation strikes the right balance between productivity and safety," Kohl said in a statement. The bill is backed by American Trucking Associations and the Coalition for Transportation Productivity, a shippers' group, the two said in statements Thursday.

"ATA supports a number of reforms to federal truck size and weight regulations as part of our Sustainability Initiative," said ATA President Bill Graves." More efficient trucks, like those allowed under this legislation, will significantly reduce the trucking industry's carbon output," he said in a statement.