Grain News

NGFA's President Randy Gordon Addresses Transportation Infrastructure

Date Posted: December 13, 2013

National Grain & Feed Association President Randy Gordon discusses the Congressional Outlook (interview conducted in mid-November).

What progress is being made on moving forward with upgrades to our transportation infrastructure?

In a promising development a joint House-Senate conference began meeting Nov. 20 to come up with a final version of a waterways infrastructure bill – the first such bills in six years.

Both bills are positive in that they would streamline and reduce the time it takes for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ to approve much-needed projects to rebuild the lock-and-dam system.

Both bills also would reduce the level of user-fee fund required to complete the Olmstead lock and dam on the Ohio River, which has been subject to repeated delays and cost-overruns.

The one missing piece that NGFA, the Waterways Council Inc., and other groups are seeking to have added in conference is to increase the barge diesel fuel user fee to provide the needed funding to actually perform the lock replacement projects that would be authorized under both bills.

Without that increased user-fee funding – which the barge and towing industry and its customers, including the grain industry and farmers favor – we’ll not be able to create the kind of waterway infrastructure U.S. agriculture needs to be competitive in the future.

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