Nov. 4, 2015 - A long-term surface transportation bill is on the congressional
fast-track. The House this week took up a Senate-passed bill with hopes of
getting final legislation to President Obama by Thanksgiving.
Farm and food
industry groups were pushing to include increases in truck weight limits, which
the Senate bill doesn’t include
because of opposition from Democrats. But Tuesday night, the House rejected,
187-236, an amendment by Rep. Reid
Ribble, R-Wis.,that would have allowed states to increase the truck weight limits
on their interstate highways from 80,000 pounds to 91,000 pounds, provided the
trucks have six axles.
A coalition of
farm and food industry groups wrote lawmakers that the higher limits would “safely modernize truck shipments on Interstate
highways by reducing the number of trucks needed to move our commodities and
products through better utilization of existing capacity.”
The House was
expected to vote Wednesday on a second amendment, sponsored by Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., to allow states
to permit livestock to be hauled in trucks weighing up to 95,000 pounds. A
provision allowing states to set higher weights for milk trucks was added to
the bill in committee.
would have to approve any House changes to the bill.
legislation also appears likely to revive the Export-Import Bank. The Senate
bill includes an Ex-Im reauthorization provision that House leaders retained in
the measure. The House last week approved a standalone Ex-Im authorization
bill, 313-118, but the Senate won’t take up that measure.
bill authorizes programs for six years but only provides three years of
funding. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said the rest of the money will have
to be found later. The House and Senate have until Nov. 20 to agree on a final
bill or they will have to pass another temporary extension of funding
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