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19 February 2017 - Let’s quit talking, and do it

How many times over the last four decades have I said this: “Let’s quit talking and do it?” I am referring to the need to start fixing our inland waterway system, the locks and dams on the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers that are so vital to the movement of grains and other agricultural products out of the Midwest to the World and bringing products needed in the Midwest on the return trip North. For at least four decades we have been wringing our hands and talking about the deterioration and doing nothing about fixing it.

That is why now there is some hope that with the Trump administration there will be an earnest attempt to handle the infrastructure problems that we have in this country, not just the waterway systems but highways, bridges and other infrastructure that goes into transportation of all goods.

The reason I bring this up now is because earlier this month, the U.S Grains Council held its International Marketing Meeting in Panama. The last time the Council was in Panama about a decade ago the expansion of the Canal was just underway, but now the delegates got a first-hand look at the completion of the Canal widening and the ability to move much larger ships thru the Canal. Why, in a comparatively short time, can the government of Panama complete a major project and in the U.S. we can’t even get a renovation project underway?

The Canal is a major opportunity for the U.S. to expand trade to all parts of the World if we don’t let our waterway system collapse. Hear this…
Sixty-nine percent of all cargo traveling though the Panama Canal originates from, or is destined for the United States including one-third of total U.S. grain exports. Just think what would happen if a lock & dam in the middle of our Waterway system were to collapse and shut the river. How many trucks would we have to put on our highway system to handle what now travels by barge?

If President Trump is serious about fixing infrastructure in this country, this is a good place to start. It is up to us to keep reminding him it is time to quit talking and start doing.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.