STC - Rural Bridge Replacement & Repair Innovations

Soy Transportation Coaliation Author
04/06/2021 Added
15 Plays


Ankeny, Iowa — Rural roads and bridges serve as the initial link in the overall supply chain – allowing the soybeans and grain produced on a farm to be eventually consumed by both domestic and international customers. Of the bridges in the country classified as deficient and, in many cases, subject to closures or restricted access, a significant percentage are located in rural areas. “Our nation’s rural bridges serve as the initial step in a lengthy journey to the ultimate customer,” explains Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition (STC). “Unfortunately, the region of the country in which bridge conditions are most severe – rural areas – also happen to be the region in which available funding to improve these conditions is stagnant or on the decline. The concern remains that if this starting line for farmers is not well-maintained, soybeans and grain will not effectively reach the finish line in delivering to our customers.” Given the significance of this need and the limited resources to address it, a potential response by bridge owners is to simply close or restrict access to existing bridges or hope federal, state, or local government will be willing and able to supply the necessary revenue. While pursuing increased investment is appropriate and closing or placing restrictions on certain rural bridges may be prudent, increased energy and attention must be devoted to addressing the cost side of the equation and making existing tax dollars stretch further.

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