Congress is considering legislation to make transporting milk from farm to plant to consumer more efficient and safer. One proposal under consideration is the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act (SETA), H.R. 763, which would allow states to raise truck weight limits on gross vehicle weight up to 97,000 pounds for six-axle, single-trailer trucks that operate on the Interstate system within their borders.
About 90 percent of states already allow heavier trucks to access some or all road networks, but the current federal weight limit restricts many of these heavier trucks to non-interstate roads, which are often less safe and less efficient. In addition, many of these heavier trucks now operate on five axles instead of the six axles SETA would require for enhanced safety.
IDFA, Members Join Others on Capitol Hill
Representative John Mica (R-FL), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has included H.R. 763 in the long-awaited Highway Reauthorization Bill, which is headed for committee markup on Thursday. IDFA and several member companies, including Kraft Foods and Dairy Farmers of America, will join the nearly 200 members of the Coalition for Transportation Productivity visiting offices on Capitol Hill this week to lobby in support of the act.
"This legislation is very important to the dairy industry because it will allow safer, greener and more efficient hauling through the supply chain," said Ruth Saunders, IDFA vice president for policy and legislative affairs.
According to DFA estimates, SETA would allow significant efficiencies in transporting milk from the farm to the plant.
"Under SETA we could move the same volume of milk to plant facilities with fewer loads per day, reducing both transportation costs and wear and tear on infrastructure, lessening our carbon footprint and saving our members money," said Jackie Klippenstein, DFA vice president, industry and legislative affairs.
Harry Haney, associate director of transport planning for Kraft Foods, said recently in a DairyReporter.com report that about 40 percent of trucks currently hit the weight limit with significant space left in the trailer. SETA, he said, would allow Kraft trucks to eliminate approximately 33 million miles annually, saving more than six million gallons of fuel and removing 73,000 tons of carbon dioxide from its operations.
In addition, IDFA and 14 other food industry associations wrote to committee members asking them to support SETA, noting it would safely improve transportation efficiency, facilitate economic growth and bring much-needed improvements to the American food supply chain. Read the letter here.
IDFA encourages members to contact their representative immediately to voice support for the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act (SETA), H.R. 763. Call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 225-3121 and ask to be connected to your representative’s office.
For more information contact Saunders at email@example.com or Chelsee Woodey, IDFA director of legislative affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.