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Transportation Bill Cuts Regulations on Farmers


When Congress passes legislation, it typically means more regulations; but the transportation bill passed last week actually exempts farmers from some burdensome regulations. American Farm Bureau Transportation Specialist Andrew Walmsley says the legislation releases farmers from having to have  CDLs, “Those farmers and ranchers that are using a farm vehicle to haul their calves or their produce to market were exempt from some requirements that were meant for long-haul truckers, commercial truck drivers. Commercial driver’s license, medical certificates, hours of service requirements, pre and post trip inspections, those were all included and a farmer is exempt if he’s driving a vehicle that’s under 26,000 pounds. If he happens to be over 26,000 pounds he’s exempt up to 150 air miles from his farm, if he were to cross a state line. He’d be exempt within the state. It’s just an easier way to do business and reduce some of the regulatory burdens that are on them.”


The bill also provides funding for fixing roads and bridges, something that is very vital to agriculture. Walmsley said it is also a good bill to pass going into a summer campaign season, “They knew that they had to get something done and, if they didn’t, a lot of people would be out of work. The folks that supported the federal government to fund those projects have something to take back to their districts and say, “Look we put people back to work; we’re paving the roads; we’re improving the infrastructure that everyone needs for commerce to function.”


But as Walmsley points out, Congress will have to revisit this issue as long term a more permanent means of funding infrastructure improvement will be needed, “The gas tax that funds highway programs, with fuel efficiency and electric vehicles and everything else that we’re seeing on the roads today, that funding mechanism is in trouble. So I think they’re going to have to look long and hard in the next few years on figuring out how do we continue to fund the infrastructure needs of this country?”