Today, the House began consideration of H.R. 22, the DRIVE Act. The legislation would reauthorize the Federal Highway Trust Fund as well as a number of transportation-related programs for six years. The House will be considering amendments tonight and will likely vote on final passage later this week. The Senate has already passed legislation, and after House consideration and passage, negotiations will continue in a conference committee to determine how the program would be funded. The funding source — and whether to include reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank in this legislative vehicle — will likely be the most controversial points of the negotiations.
Western Growers is supportive of and has pushed several amendments being offered to the legislation, including an amendment by Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) that would require more detailed port metrics to be gathered. The amendment mirrors legislation in the Senate sponsored by Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), and would provide another tool to help avoid the kind of port disruption experienced on the west coast earlier this year.
A second amendment proposed by Congressman Ribble (R-WI) supported by WG would increase truck weight limitations, allowing for more efficient hauling of heavier commodities. Lastly, an amendment offered by Congressmen Crawford (R-AR) and Ashford (D-NE) would create a pilot program allowing for CDL-licensed truckers under the age of 21 to operate within a 150-mile range from their home base, even if that involves crossing state lines.
For more information, please contact Ken Barbic in our Washington, D.C. office at (202) 296-0191.