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NCBA: House transportation bill misses mark

NCBA: House transportation bill misses mark

National Cattlemen's Beef Association says House transportation bill does not include several provisions important to livestock producers and agriculture

The House on Wednesday failed to include two amendments regarding truck weights and language to support a mandatory 30-minute rest break exemption for livestock haulers in the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act, disappointing the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.

NCBA President Philip Ellis commented on the bill, H.R. 22, suggesting that it fails to address outdated truck weight laws.

The group supported an amendment from Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., which would have allowed states the option to issue special permits for livestock shippers to operate vehicles weighing up to 95,000 pounds.

Dave Baker delivers cattle for auction at the Fairview Sale Barn on August 2, 2012 in Fairview, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

NCBA said a study completed by the U.S Department of Transportation supported the increase of truck weights both on economical and safety principles, but the "House failed to vote on the side of science," Ellis said.

Ellis noted that the cattle industry relies on trucks for the transportation of livestock. "The days of the cross-country cattle drive are over, and the livestock industry no longer utilizes the rail system," he said.

Another amendment from Rep. Reid Ribble, D-Wis., that would affect truck weight limits also was not included. Further, the bill does not add language to address the mandatory 30-minute rest period rule for livestock haulers.

"There is nothing to support in [the bill], and NCBA strongly opposes its passage," Ellis said.

The bill already has passed the Senate.

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