Rural Infrastructure / Transportation Issue Summary: Transportation infrastructure (highways, bridges, locks and dams, rail, harbor and ports) and rural broadband deployment are most obvious needs for rural communities. Federal investment, public-private partnerships, easing regulations and revising outdated statutory requirements, will ensure efficient use of funds and timely completion of projects. Current federal minimum age (21) to obtain a CDL has a negative impact on driver recruitment. Businesses are not able to hire young adults making an initial career choice. The Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate has highlighted underlying issues with the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, imposed unnecessary costs and burden on the industry with minimal safety benefits.
ARA Position: Support expanded funding opportunities for rural broadband and transportation infrastructure projects while lessening regulatory burdens. Support expanded pilot program for short haul drivers between the ages of 18 to 20 transporting farm supplies and/or agricultural commodities to increase number of available commercial drivers. Support the HOS / ELD reforms for drivers of all agricultural operations and short haul operations. Support an opt-in voluntary pilot program for states to allow 91,000 lbs., 6 axle, bridge formula compliant trucks on Federal Interstate Highways.