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PFB Priorities Included in Transportation Law
For Immediate Release: July 6, 2012
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau Priorities Included in Reauthorization of Federal Transportation Laws
(Camp Hill) – Key changes to regulations affecting the operation of farm trucks shepherded by Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) have been included in legislation signed by President Obama that reauthorizes federal highway and transportation funding through 2014.
Farm Bureau’s proposed changes to the law exempt farmers and drivers involving interstate travel from requirements for medical cards, driver hour logs and daily and periodic vehicle inspection requirements, when operating any farm truck 26,000 pounds or less or operating any farm truck over 26,000 pounds within 150 miles of the farmer’s farm.
“Farmers who work in the fields or haul their products to markets should not be subject to the same regulations as commercial long-haul truck drivers traveling across the country. The new law relieves farmers, whose vehicles must cross a state border to deliver farm products or pick up supplies from a business a short distance away, from burdensome and needless requirements and paperwork,” said PFB President Carl T. Shaffer.
Farm Bureau noted that the law also forbids the federal government from withholding funding from states just because they allow driver exemptions under the state’s transportation code. Pressure from federal agencies to take away funds from Pennsylvania was the primary reason behind the elimination of commonsense exemptions for use of trucks around the farm. The exemptions provided before 2010 had been in place for nearly two decades, without compromising transportation safety.
“The removal of federal authority to impose financial penalties on Pennsylvania will allow the Commonwealth and other states to restore commonsense exemptions for drivers operating farm vehicles locally without crossing state borders,” concluded Shaffer.
PFB praised U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) for his efforts drafting and co-sponsoring changes to the federal highway funding bill and Congressman Bill Shuster (R-PA, 9th District) for helping to secure inclusion of Farm Bureau’s requested measures in the final transportation bill.
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is the state’s largest farm organization with a volunteer membership of more than 55,000 farm and rural families, representing farms of every size and commodity across Pennsylvania.