LETTER TO THE EDITOR by Bill Chase, SD Corn Growers Association vice president
South Dakotans, we can’t give up now. We cannot allow the Federal Railroad Administration’s denial of DM&E’s loan application to close the door on a tremendous opportunity for residents of this state and the entire Midwest.
Our visionary Congressional leadership in South Dakota unequivocally supports the DM&E expansion project. Senator Tim Johnson, Senator John Thune and Representative Stephanie Herseth understand the importance of the rail upgrade and expansion to our state and have championed this project. South Dakota is a land-locked state.
The proposed DM&E project would provide access to markets far beyond our state’s borders. Our current rail transportation system is already stretched beyond its capacity, limiting development and expansion opportunities for South Dakota farmers and businesses.
The demand for rail capacity will continue to grow across the nation. Creation of another Class I rail line in the Midwest would provide increased competition, resulting in lower rates to transport goods for all South Dakota producers.
President Bush’s energy initiatives require increased bio-based fuel production. Our state has a unique ethanol climate, with a projected 1 billion gallons of ethanol production in the near future. Rail expansion is needed to move ethanol and other value-added products produced here in the Midwest to ports and markets all across this country.
If we fail to address bottlenecks when delivering the growing supply of ethanol and co-products to market, ethanol – the industry our state has built – will not reach its full potential.
Community leaders along the DM&E rail line support the project. They understand the economic benefits and job opportunities it would provide to their towns and rural communities. South Dakota citizens and our political leaders must continue to work together to find a way to turn this transportation opportunity into reality.
Bill ChaseWolsey, SD