The National Corn Growers Association last week expressed disappointment that Congress failed to pass a long-term highway funding bill before its August recess. Congress voted to extend the United States Highway Trust Fund’s authorization through Oct. 29, the second such short-term extension this year.
“Once again, Congress kicked the can down the road – and that road is in bad shape,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling, a farmer from Newburg, MD. “Farmers rely on our nation’s infrastructure system every day. We need safe, reliable roads and bridges to get our products to market quickly, safely and efficiently. Instead, our roads and bridges are at best, in disrepair, and at worst, unsafe or unusable – and that hurts every farmer in America.”
Eighty percent of the domestic corn crop is trucked to market, according to USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. By one estimate, America’s transportation deficiencies will cost U.S. agriculture $1.3 billion in exports by 2020. Approximately 73 percent of America’s bridges are located in rural areas, which disproportionately rely on federal funding for repairs and maintenance.
“It’s time to get serious about passing a long-term highway funding bill. Every year we don’t act, the cost of repairs increase, and the burden on our economy grows. Senators and Representatives are returning to their home states for August recess. We’re asking them to take notice of their roads and bridges, to listen to their constituents, and to come back to Washington with solutions for our nation’s infrastructure problem.”