WASHINGTON D.C. (KELO-AM) U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) today discussed the rail backlog in South Dakota and elsewhere with Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx at a Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee hearing.
“The rail bottleneck is affecting farmers, ethanol producers, and utilities, which hurts South Dakota’s rural economy,” Johnson said. “We need to take a hard look at how the dramatic increase in shipment of crude oil by rail is impacting the larger rail network and ways to ensure the ag industry has access to reliable rail service during the critical post-harvest and spring planting periods.”
“We also need to address the short and long-term need to invest in our overall transportation infrastructure to accommodate increased freight transport safely and efficiently to ensure economic growth isn’t unnecessarily constrained.”
Since last fall, there have been major problems with rail transport in South Dakota. The current rail shipping problems stem from several factors, including an overall increase in rail shipping of goods due to the improving economy, the brutal weather this past winter, the large harvest last fall, and the increase in rail shipping of crude oil in the region.