Study of rural transportation issues.
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Study of rural transportation issues.

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  • English

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      NTL-ECONOMICS AND FINANCE-Transit Economics and Finance ; NTL-PLANNING AND POLICY-Transit Planning and Policy ;
    • Abstract:
      This report is in response to Section 6206 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (PL

      110-246), which directs the Secretaries of Agriculture and Transportation jointly to conduct a

      study of rural transportation issues. The report reviews transportation and its effect on rural

      communities, with an emphasis on agricultural transportation. It looks in depth into each of

      the four major modes of transportation commonly used by agriculture in the United States:

      trucking, railroads, barges, and ocean vessels, examining each in the light of its ability to meet

      rural America’s transportation needs now and in the future. It identifies some broad issues that

      merit attention from policy makers.

      Transportation is critical to U.S. agriculture, which raises the food for America and feeds a

      hungry world with its abundance. Our transportation system moves food from farms to our

      tables, and to ports for export to foreign markets. The four major modes work together in a

      seamless network, cooperating and competing with one another in a balanced and flexible

      system that delivers products efficiently and economically in an ever-changing market.

      Agriculture is the largest user of freight transportation in the United States, claiming 31 percent

      of all ton-miles transported in the United States in 2007. Much of this freight travels out of the

      country. Global agricultural supply and demand have changed rapidly since 1990. Corn and

      soybeans have increased dramatically in both consumption and production. During the past 5

      years, half of American wheat was exported, along with 36 percent of the soybean crop and 19

      percent of the corn crop. These exports travel from the inland areas of the United States where

      they are produced to borders and ports by way of a network of trucks, trains, and barges.

      The need for agricultural transportation will continue to increase, based on projected growth in

      the demand for U.S. agricultural products domestically and overseas.

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