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May 6, 2013

Senate to Vote on Important Infrastructure Improvements

For more information on Newsline, contact: Kari Barbic, Media Specialist, American Farm Bureau Federation, karib@fb.org.

Do you think we’d have the biggest economy in the world if we were still using Model Ts and biplanes to get around? Well, one area of our infrastructure is that old and American Farm Bureau transportation specialist Andrew Walmsley says it’s time for Congress to approve updates. AFBF’s Johnna Miller has that story.
Miller:The Senate is getting ready to vote on the Water Resources Development Act – known as WRDA – which would update infrastructure for the nation’s inland waterways and ports. American Farm Bureau transportation specialist Andrew Walmsley says those improvements are crucial for our economy.
Walmsley:Our waterways infrastructure isbasically relying on technology that many of them were built in the 1930s. We’ve got locks out there older than the Model T.
Miller:But why are locks and dams important for our economy? Because transporting freight by water is the most energy-efficient option out there, so these waterways are critical to keeping our domestic supply chain competitive. International trade accounts for more than a quarter of the nation’s GDP and more than 38 million American jobs.
Walmsley:You see for every dollar spend on infrastructure about $1.92 return in economic activity.
Miller:Walmsley suggests people consider this: it takes 200 railcars or 1,000 semi-trucks to move what one 15-tow barge can transport using a fraction of the fuel.
Walmsley:You do see it in action through less congestion on your roadways.When you look at what a barge is able to move down the river and at a very much less expensive form of transportation; it’s about $14 per ton in cost savings to use our waterways instead of rails or roads. That translates into lower prices to consumers and like I said, less congestions on the roadways.
Miller:Johnna Miller, Washington.
Miller:Newsline is updated Mondays and Thursdays by 5pm Eastern. Thank you for listening.

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