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Bob Larson Transportation Study at WSU Pt 1
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Washington State Farm Bureau Report
Date: September 19, 2018

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I'm Bob Larson. Whether you grow tree fruit or wheat or potatoes or onions or any other crop, you rely on transportation and the associated infrastructure to get your product to market. Without it, your crop is virtually worthless.

That's the thinking behind a study at Washington State University led by associate research professor Eric Jessup who says the federal government asked for their help...

JESSUP ... "So, USDA came to us here at the Freight Policy Transportation Institute and said look, we'd like to do a study to improve how we decide which infrastructure projects to invest in. So, most of the effort was involved in how we go about prioritizing investments."

Jessup says that prioritization becomes very difficult when you include so many stakeholders like different ports, railroads, state transportation departments, metropolitan planning groups, and the Corps of Engineers ...

JESSUP ... "The challenge, as you might surmise, is that most agencies, whether they be county or state or regional, have limited funds and limited staff, limited, maybe, expertise to maintain or house one of these types of models that we're proposing. So, our goal is to basically improve the science around how we prioritize these things and hopefully have some synergies across these public agencies so that investments are made to truly help ag exports. That's really what we're trying to get to."

Jessup says how limited funds are used and which projects are selected has never been more important. Tune in tomorrow for more on this WSU study and how the U.S. can prioritize its transportation needs in order to stay ahead of global competitors that are quickly gaining ground.

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