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Freight infrastructure must be improved to maintain U.S. competitiveness, CAGTC says

The Coalition for America's Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC) released its second white paper that explores why the nation's freight infrastructure should be improved.

Titled "The Vital Role of U.S. Transportation Infrastructure in Moving Agriculture Forward," the report reviews the impact that deteriorating infrastructure has on U.S. agricultural competitiveness in the global market, CAGTC officials said in a press release.

The paper focuses on an example of the impact on soybeans grown in Illinois.

"Without a strong goods movement network, agricultural commodities cannot remain competitive in global markets and we are already starting to feel the pressure," said Mike Levin, the report's author and director of issues management analysis at the Illinois Soybean Association. "In 2013, Brazilian exports surpassed U.S. soybean exports, a move that was primarily attributed to the differences in transportation costs.” 

While differences in transportation costs for some destinations and routes helped to divert trade from the U.S. to sources in Brazil or Argentina, the reverse can also be true should U.S. freight infrastructure offer greater competitiveness, according to the report.

"Although many think only of the rural component required to move agriculture commodities, in fact products travel through both rural communities and urban centers, requiring dependable and cost-effective infrastructure from end-to-end," said CAGTC Executive Director Elaine Nessle. "A strategic campaign of investment is needed to ensure that our agricultural producers can remain competitive in the global market place."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/17/2017