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Entries in Rural (3)

Friday
May122017

Secretary Perdue announces creation of Undersecretary for Trade

American Journal of Transportation

May 12, 2017

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny PerdueCincinnati, OH - U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the creation of an undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a recognition of the ever-increasing importance of international trade to American agriculture. Perdue made the announcement standing by barges filled with agricultural products along the banks of the Ohio River. As part of a reorganization of USDA, Perdue also announced the standing up of a newly-named Farm Production and Conservation mission area to have a customer focus and meet USDA constituents in the field. Finally, Perdue announced that the department’s Rural Development agencies would be elevated to report directly to the secretary of agriculture in recognition of the need to help promote rural prosperity.

Perdue issued a report to announce the changes, which address Congressional direction in the 2014 Farm Bill to create the new undersecretary for trade and also are a down payment on President Trump’s request of his cabinet to deliver plans to improve the accountability and customer service provided by departments.

Read on...

Tuesday
Dec152015

Ports-to-Plains: Rural Areas Connect Urban Populations

Urban areas across the country struggle with congestion and freight movement chokepoints.  Ports-to-Plains Alliance understands that reality and the need to address those issues.  The Alliance does, however, continue to point out that rural corridors like Ports-to-Plains provide a significant alternative to existing congested corridors.  Specifically, the Corridor Development and Management Plan projected a 12% increase in corridor use would take place with the expansion of the corridor to four-lane divided. This increase provides relief to both Interstate 35 and Interstate 25.

The recently released DRAFT Texas Freight Mobility Plan hit the target when it stated “The state must focus not only on improving existing facilities, but also on developing future freight corridors to move products to markets and exports.” 

Ports-to-Plains recognizes the need to invest in improvements to the Primary Freight Network, but are strongly supportive of the call to develop alternative corridors as defined by the Secondary and Emerging Freight Network in the Texas Freight Mobility Plan.  Each state along the corridor needs to have the foresight shown by TXDOT.

Too often transportation planning is based only on historical numbers looking at population growth, traffic counts and accident histories.  When planning is limited to historical data, the areas of congestion and accidents are doomed to continue.  Several years ago one of our partners pointed out that based on historical counts no bridge would ever have been built over any river because there were no traffic counts to justify the bridge.

It takes only a quick look at a map to recognize that the miles between urban areas require a safe, efficient system of moving goods through rural areas.  Movement of freight and people is about connections.  Urban areas rely upon rural corridors to connect to markets and resources necessary to grow their economies.  Not only do rural corridors make those connections to markets but they are also sources of the resources needed to drive those economies.  As the primary corridor serving the agriculture and energy heartland, the Ports-to-Plains Corridor provides the food, fuel and fiber needed in urban population areas.

Highway expansion through rural areas is significantly more cost effective than expansion of already congested highways serving the urban areas.   The costs for right of way and utility relocation combined with the costs of urban drainage, noise barriers, other environmental and even social needs make urban expansion more expensive than rural expansion projects per mile.

Tuesday
Aug132013

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper to Rural Colorado…“I do not think the roads are as bad as some people say.”

The interview covered many topics and the complete interview is available in the link belw at Barn Media.  Ports-to-Plains Alliance was especially interested in the Governor’s response to the question about maintaining the statewide transportation system.  Click here for the clip on transportation.  We wish the Governor had commented on the importance of that statewide system and the need to expand that system to remain economically competitive.  What are your thoughts?… are the roads better than some say?  He rightly pointed out that transportation revenue will decrease as vehicles become more efficient. Transportation revenues are based on a per gallon tax… not like a sales tax that increases as prices go up… instead the per-gallon tax (18.4 cents) has stayed the same in Colorado since 1993.  It will take leadership at the Governor level to find a solution to declining transportation funding in the state of Colorado.  $158 billion of goods originating in Colorado move domestically by the statewide highway system. By 2040 Federal Highway Administration projects that to reach $335 billion.  Only maintaining what Colorado has, will limit that potential.

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Click here for complete interview > Barn Media

August 13, 2013

Joining the Colorado Ag News Network inside the BARN is Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. The Governor is hosting community forums during his 12-stop 2-day tour thru Eastern and Southern Colorado discussing water, economic development, healthcare, education and other issues important to the towns and communities of: Sterling, Akron, Burlington, Cheyenne Wells, Lamar, Springfield, Trinidad, Alamosa, Salida, Del Norte and Pagosa Springs.