WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) said it supports the Safe, Flexible, and Efficient Trucking Act, introduced on Sept. 10 by Rep. Reid Ribble, which would allow states to increase truck weight limits on federal highways.

Under the bill, states could increase truck weight limits on Interstate System highways within their borders to 91,000 pounds as long as those trucks are equipped with an additional sixth axle. The federal weight limit for Interstate highways has been set at 80,000 pounds since 1982.

“Federal highway truck weight limits currently are lower than most state road weight limits, and this inconsistency presents obstacles to efficient movement of U.S. grains,” said NGFA Director of Economics and Government Relations Max Fisher. “Congressman Ribble’s bill would improve this situation, taking better advantage of our Interstate highway system infrastructure while still protecting highway safety.”

The Safe, Flexible, and Efficient Trucking Act would allow trucks to carry an additional 11,000 pounds of weight on federal highways while adhering to U.S. Department of Transportation safety guidelines.

Also on Sept. 3, the NGFA sent a letter to the members of the U.S. House Representatives urging them to pass multi-year surface transportation legislation that provides adequate funding and certainty for transportation infrastructure projects.

"A large portion of the consumer cost of food is directly attributable to the cost of transportation throughout the food supply chain," states the letter, which was signed by almost every major agricultural organization. "Strong infrastructure, such as highways and bridges, are hugely important in keeping U.S. agriculture competitive and consumer food costs down."

Congress is attempting to address a budget shortfall in transportation funding estimated at $16 billion per year. Although the Senate passed a six-year highway bill in July, House members' resistance to the plan meant that Congress instead passed an $8 billion three-month extension of infrastructure spending before leaving for August recess. 

NGFA notes that while all modes of transportation are important to agriculture, trucks move almost all agricultural commodities from the field-to-warehouse and further transport 64% of grains and oilseeds from warehouse-to-end user.

NGFA said it would welcome the inclusion of Ribble’s legislation in multi-year surface transportation legislation. Funding for surface transportation projects expires at the end of October. To see more of NGFA’s priorities in a multi-year highway bill, click here.