Soybean association concerned with items in federal Highway Bill

A draft of the Highway Bill, officially called the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act (STRRA) of 2015, was marked up on Thursday by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The Highway Bill includes a reauthorization of highway transportation programs which would help state and local governments maintain and move forward with transportation projects.
The bill also includes three new programs with the goal of improving freight movement and strengthening the United States economy. These programs are National Highway Freight Policy, Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects Program, and National Multi-modal Freight Network. Finally, it includes an extension of the deadline for implementing Positive Train Control (PTC).
The American Soybean Association has several issues with the bill, even though it has several positives. The most pressing issue, to which Rep Reid Ribble (R-WI) plans on offering an amendment, is the fact that the bill does not address the ability for states to allow increased truck weights on federal interstates within their state for trucks with an additional (sixth) axle.
The agricultural community in particular is concerned about three issues which STRRA needs to address. These three issues are 1) an exemption to a hazardous materials endorsement for operators to transport the amount of fuel needed for field operations; 2) clarification that states may adopt standards on “covered farm vehicles” and 3) Hours-of-Service Rule for Livestock and Poultry.
The Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015 could be addressed on the House floor the week of October 26 or the week of November 2.

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American Soybean Association

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