According to a study by the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, $210 million is needed annually to maintain county and township roads in North Dakota. Of that total, more than $100 million is related to agriculture haul roads.
"We are growing and moving more crops than ever before and that is having a major impact on our already stressed rural road network," says Doug Goehring, North Dakota agriculture commissioner. "Yet funding in real dollars for county and local roads has grown only modestly in recent years, while construction costs have soared."
In addition to greatly increased crop production, Goehring says rural roads usage is being increased by a 33% decline in the number of elevators in the state, an increase in the number of processing plants in the state and a reduction of railroad trackage.
"Even the type of vehicles is having an impact," he says. "We're not talking about single tandem axle trucks anymore; most grain is now moving by semi-truck."
The North Dakota Corn Utilization Council, North Dakota Soybean Council, North Dakota Soybean Growers Association, North Dakota Ethanol Council, North Dakota Association of Counties and North Dakota Wheat Commission funded the study.
Source: ND Department of Agriculture