Monday, March 5, 2012

Just in from Washington

Senate Moving Closer to Transportation Bill Debate

Washington-If Senate Democrats and Republicans can agree on which amendments to consider, debate on the Senate’s two-year transportation reauthorization bill could begin this week.

In a letter sent last week to Senate members, the American Farm Bureau Federation said it supports a handful of amendments in the bill, including SA1653, which would allow farmers and ranchers who live near state borders to transport their products to the closest processing facilities, even if it may be in a neighboring state; SA1654, which would protect private property rights by prohibiting the use of eminent domain for private economic development by federal agencies, and by state and local governments that received federal economic development funds; SA1538, which would allow farmers and custom harvesters with a Class A commercial driver’s license to transport more than 118 gallons of diesel fuel without having to obtain a hazardous material endorsement; and SA1617, which clarifies certain driving restrictions during planting and harvest seasons for producers who are transporting agricultural goods.

The current extension of surface transportation programs expires on March 31.

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