The House and Senate Transportation Conference Committee yesterday approved a $305 billion, 1,300-page, five-year transportation bill that is expected to get final Congressional approval late this week or early next. The current transportation policy expires on Friday, so Congress may need to pass another short-term patch to allow enough time for the bill to reach President Obama’s desk for signature.
Included in the transportation deal reached between the House and Senate conference negotiators is a provision that would allow vehicles carrying fluid milk products to be eligible for non-divisible overweight vehicle permits on the National Interstate Highway system. These permits would be issued at the option of states that have a federally mandated maximum gross vehicle weight limit of 80,000 pounds.
IDFA was one of several dairy organizations supporting the provision, which was included in the House-passed transportation bill last month. Read the letter of support here.
In a news release issued yesterday, IDFA and the National Milk Producers Federation commended Congress, especially the sponsors of the provision in the House, Representatives Richard Hanna (R-NY) and Elizabeth Esty (D-CT), and House Transportation Committee Conferee Reid Ribble (R-WI) for their work in getting the provision passed. Bipartisan support for the provision was also evident in the Senate, led by Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT).
The provision is especially important in the Northeast, where a patchwork of weight limits on the Interstate Highway System makes it difficult to move milk efficiently from farms to plants across state lines. Under the new provision, all states will have the option to issue the overweight permits.
IDFA would like to acknowledge the efforts of the Northeast Dairy Farmers Cooperatives and several IDFA members who were instrumental in working with Congress to adopt the measure, including the Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, Dairy Farmers of America and HP Hood LLC.
For more information, contact Ruth Saunders, IDFA vice president of policy and legislative affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.