The final legislation for Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, commonly known as the Highway Bill, is headed to President Obama’s desk for a signature. The funding for road and bridge construction is good news for growers, as is the reversal of $3 billion in cuts to crop insurance that happened in October. The American Soybean Association is pleased with the results of the Senate’s vote.
“The cut to crop insurance was a dealbreaker for soybean farmers and we’re very relieved to see these cuts reversed,” said Wade Cowan, ASA’s president and a farmer from Brownfield, Texas. “Soybean farmers across the country rely on crop insurance in times of extreme weather to ensure they can stay in business to farm in the coming year. An ill-advised $3 billion in cuts would have severely hobbled the program, and we’re happy to see them reversed.”
“ASA will continue our opposition to any attempt to cut the farm bill programs in the budgeting process,” he said. “These programs seem to be low-hanging fruit to lawmakers who don’t understand how important they are to the nation’s food producers, and we will continue to fight to make sure they stay whole. We thank Chairmen Roberts and Conaway and Ranking Members Stabenow and Peterson for their continued defense of the farm safety net, and for securing the fix for this most recent grab at the crop insurance program.”
With regard to transportation, the multi-year reauthorization provides certainty for state and local governments to maintain and move forward with transportation projects. It provides new flexibilities and streamlines environmental review and permitting processes aimed at accelerating projects. The bill also establishes new national freight policies and programs aimed at improving freight movement and strengthening U.S. economic competitiveness.
Unfortunately the bill fails to enable states to allow increased truck weights on federal interstates, after the defeat of an amendment offered by Rep. Reid Ribble of Wisconsin that would have provided states the option to increase truck weight limits on federal interstates.
You can read the ASA’s full report here.