The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials has released a report calling for $375-billion in spending on the nation’s highways and railways in the next six years. Members of the association from 10 midwestern states are meeting in Des Moines this week, and say in 10 years an additional 1.8 million trucks will be on the road.
Iowa Department of Transportation Director Nancy Richardson says it’s important to look at transportation from a regional and national perspective.
“If there are bottlenecks, if there are condition and capacity issues on our road system, on our rail system in other parts of the country, those ultimately affect us in our ability to move products in and out efficiently and effectively, and to get the things that we need,” Richardson says.
The group says bottlenecks on major highways are adding millions of dollars to the cost of food, goods andmanufacturing equipment. Richardson says the current system lacks the capacity to maintain efficiency in the long-term as demand for goods grows.
“We are running our economy on a transportation system that was designed and built in a different time for a smaller amount and a different type of freight movement,” Richardson said, “And if we want to be able to move the freight of the future, we are going to have to make significant investment in the system.”
Richardson says Iowa and other states in the middle of the country have a particular interest in transportation, since so much freight passes through the region. And she says Iowa farmers and manufacturers have a special stake in making sure the nation’s freight infrastructure functions well to move their products out of the state.