The U.S. Senate passed a two-year, $109 billion transportation bill that gives states greater spending flexibility, allows the federal government to establish minimum safety standards for subway systems, reduces the number of federal transportation programs from 90 to less than 30, and reduces red tape that delays projects.

The bill contains an amendment by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) that continues the exemption for agricultural truck drivers concerning regulations on maximum driving and on-duty times during planting and harvesting seasons. 

The amendment applies to drivers transporting agricultural commodities within 100 miles of the farm that produced them or those carrying farm supplies for agricultural purposes within 100 miles of the wholesale or retail distribution point. 

The legislation also exempts drivers or farm vehicles from obtaining a commercial driver’s license and would exempt farm trucks from federal regulations that are intended for the long haul trucking industry.  

The House of Representatives has struggled in moving forward its transportation bill.  If Congress fails to pass transportation bill by March 31, another extension will be needed of current law.