On Tuesday, April 4, 2017 United Fresh participated in an Agriculture Transportation Working Group (AgTWG) meeting held in Washington, DC, concerning transportation infrastructure investment for our nation’s waterways. America’s inland waterways are an integral part of the transportation network for agriculture. These waterways provide a low-cost, fuel efficient, and environmentally sustainable method of moving crops throughout our country. More than 540,000 jobs are supported by the system. During the meeting, AgTWG discussed a variety of different issues faced by deteriorating infrastructure and the need to invest in rural America, including the 25 waterways projects currently on backlog for completion that could have profound impacts on the viability of the waterways critical to transportation of agricultural products. These projects, while already approved for construction, are waiting for proper funding to be appropriated.
Representatives from the USDA were on hand and listened in on the groups concerns about investment in our infrastructure and provided some feedback on what next steps should be in ensuring the appropriate amount of funding is provided. They also provided an update on the USDA’s Transportation Study mandated under the last Farm Bill. Currently in the review process, the study is expected out later this year.