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Transportation & Infrastructure

Background

An economically efficient, effective intermodal transportation system is important for the financial well-being of agricultural business and rural communities throughout the U.S. Congress and the Administration need to support federal policies that build upon the strengths of each mode of transportation. Such a system will enhance the competitiveness of the United States in an increasingly global economy.

Agricultural retailers heavily depend on commercial drivers for "just in time" delivery of farm supplies and other essential products and services to their farm and ranch customers. Our industry, like many others, is experiencing a growing driver shortage and higher shipping prices due to increased regulatory costs, retirements, departures to other industries, and burdens from Hours of Service (HOS) regulations that do not work for today's agricultural industry and Electronic Logging Device (ELD) requirements.

  • Transportation infrastructure (highways, bridges, locks and dams, rail, harbor and ports) and rural broadband deployment are essential 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  • Federal investment, public-private partnerships, easing regulations and revising outdated statutory requirements will ensure efficient use of funds and timely completion of projects.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 negative impact on driver recruitment. Businesses are not able to hire young adults making an initial career choice.
  • Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate has highlighted underlying issues with the HOS regulations and imposed unnecessary costs and burden on the industry with minimal safety benefits.
  • Current Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) limit for Federal Interstate Highways of 80,000 lbs. on 5 axles is outdated given the significant progress made in vehicle safety and pavement technology.

ARA Positions

  • 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 the number of available commercial drivers.
  • Support Hours of Service (HOS) and reforms for drivers of 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.

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Urge Congress to modernize regulations in Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill.

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