“We’ll take as much money the federal government can send our way and I would say almost every state is in a similar condition,” said Bill Panos, the director of the North Dakota Department of Transportation, who also serves as the president of the Western Association of State Highway Transportation Officials.
Panos has a 10-year plan for North Dakota that is projected to cost $2 billion just to maintain existing infrastructure — about the amount in federal funding the state expects to receive for road and highway investments if the bill passes. North Dakota’s senators Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven, both Republicans, voted for the bill.
“These are the kinds of projects that bring food from the farm to your grocery store,” Panos added.
Iowa farmer Dave Walton is a prime example of where the problems are. During the fall harvest, he drives his soybeans east to a terminal on the Mississippi River, where a barge will eventually deliver them down to the Gulf of Mexico. But that first leg of the trip takes Walton a lot more time than it used to.
“We have to detour in several places now because the bridges are in disrepair and the weight limit has lowered,” Walton said, adding, “It can be miles and miles out of the way.”
Waiting on Congress
As currently written, the infrastructure legislation would invest $110 billion in roads and bridges, $39 billion in public transportation, $66 in passenger rail, $17 billion in port infrastructure and $25 billion in airports — among several other things. The bigger spending bill focuses more on Biden’s social policies, including an expansion of the child tax credit, a paid leave benefit, universal pre-K and free community college.
And one proposal that angered farmers has been dropped from the House version of the bill following criticism from many farm trade groups. It would have taxed unrealized capital gains to help pay for the bill, affecting those who want to pass down their farm to the next generation — though the White House said it would exclude family farmers.
Johnathan Hladik, the policy director at the Center for Rural Affairs,…
Go to the news source: Farmers are all in on Biden’s infrastructure plan