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Infrastructure earns a D+

Source: ASCE.org

LISTEN: World of Agriculture 3-17-17

D+, that’s what the American Society of Civil Engineers gives U.S. infrastructure. The ASCE released their 2017 Infrastructure Report Card last week and it doesn’t look good.

“It is hard to have an A+ economy, or an A+ agriculture industry with a D+ in infrastructure. The public relates when things are conveyed in that kind of manner. People understand a D+ is never a grade they aspired to as students or would want their kids to aspire to,” Soy Transportation Coalition Executive Director Mike Steenhoek, says.

Steenhoek says hopefully this grade will shed more light and increase attention on the need to invest in our multi-modal system of infrastructure and he thinks the stakes are particularly high for agriculture.

Farm country is far removed from export regions so agriculture relies heavily on different modes of transportation.

“We are rightfully concerned when we see such poor grades on a host of different modes that are really consequential to our industry,” Steenhoek says. “Levees D, inland waterways D, roads D-, Dams D, even ports and brides a C+.”

Steenhoek says the only mode of transportation that didn’t do too bad was railroads with a B. He says much of can be attributed because they are privately funded and better able to respond to market signals and demand.

*Audio in this story was provided by Susan Littlefield at the Rural Radio Network.

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