A new study by the USDA and Transportation Department shows that states that invest in infrastructure would see their investment double in terms of value to agriculture.
Adam Sparger of the Agricultural Marketing Service explained how the study can be used by states and policymakers.
Sparger:” It takes a cross-sectional slice at each section across these corridors stretching across the country. Multiple states are involved. At any given point along that corridor, you can look at what are the major challenges facing the flow of goods in that one section. That helps states prioritize their spending and planning and their chokepoints.”
Spargers says the study also highlights the benefits of spending on transportation to agriculture.
Sparger:” We looked at all the recently completed state freight plans, this was a new requirement for the Department of Transportation. By looking at their current planned spending on highway improvements over the next several years, we found that the benefits exceed costs by a factor or two or more which is a no-brainer in terms of making an investing decision. If states were to increase their spending by a factor of four, the benefits to cost ratio does not change. It’s still a factor of two or more. There’s plenty of room to continue investing in our highway infrastructure system and still make good sense from a government and industry perspective.
The Colorado Department of Transportation is currently reviewing public input on how to improve the safety and reliability of moving people and freight through the I-270, connecting interstates 70 and 25. The highway was built 50 years ago. Traffic volumes have surpassed capacity and pavement conditions and structures need major improvements.
Agricultural producers are the single largest user of freight services in the US. They make up 17% of freight movements across all transportation modes in dollar value and 33% of all ton-miles. In 2017, 2.9 billion tons of agricultural products worth $2.5 trillion moved on the freight network.