The American Soybean Association (ASA) has sent letters to key members of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee (EPW) and the House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee to reiterate its top transportation and infrastructure priorities and urge their inclusion in the Surface Transportation Reauthorization bill.

The Senate EPW Committee has indicated it could mark-up the bill Nov. 9. The House T&I Committee has not announced a date for mark-up.

ASA’s priorities for the bill are an extension of the hours-of-service exemption for agricultural truck drivers, an increase in the truck weight limits when an additional sixth axle is used, and provisions to ensure that all funds in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund that were intended for dredging activities are used for those purposes.

Agricultural truck drivers are currently granted an exemption from the hours of service rules if operating within a 100-mile radius of their farm or distribution point.

Planting and harvesting without this exemption would require a substantially larger fleet of trucks and drivers and result in higher costs to farmers and/or missed production opportunities.