(Jamie) Welcome to Farm Factor! Let’s join Kyle Bauer and Richard Carlson for their conversation about ag issues and the importance of farm-to-market roads.
(Kyle Bauer) I’m able to visit with the Kansas Secretary of Transportation, Richard Carlson, talking about agricultural issues and roads in general. Of course roads are an important part of agriculture. (Richard Carlson) Well they are extremely important in terms, especially with farm-to-market type roads where you have a lot of transportation of crops, wheat, milo, sorghum, moving from farm to market. In many cases you go from not only this to the elevators but you use not just our roads but also our rail, important ingredient. (Kyle) Well that’s one thing that people don’t understand, is a Secretary of Transportation in Kansas you are involved with rail and other modes of transportation as well. (Richard) Well that’s absolutely correct Kyle. We’re involved. We just did some competitive grants for an inner-model, trans-model, actually what it’s called, places that we approved one at Great Bend, that’s now operational and we also funded a portion of the one at Garden City which is now just under construction. One of the things they’re using at Garden City that’s even currently happening there I think they got like 900 acre site that they’re using but the turbines come in for the wind turbines on rail and then are transferred to the trucking industry and moved out to site and erected. It’s all part of the agri-system. (Kyle) Well and of course the wind farms are part of the income that comes to rural agriculture as well and of course you drive down the roads you see those turbines and blades constantly. If you can run things by rail it takes some pressure off the roads. (Richard) Well that’s correct. We do have great roads in Kansas. If you travel to our neighboring states, generally we always get great comments. Our road system are graded on a national scale is poor, fair or good and good on the interstate system is if you have an 85% rating. We have a 97% rating on our interstate systems. Our state roads are good at 80% and we’re at a 90% level. We’ve got excellent roads in Kansas and we hope to maintain them in that same standard. (Kyle) Because we have such good roads, is that one of the reasons that the Legislature has been able to use some of that money the last few years to balance the budget, it’s been a lot of money? (Richard) Well and they have used a lot of money however that’s not uncommon over the years. Different administrations have used KDOT for some of their other funding sources but one of things I think is very important to the people of Kansas need to know that we do have a dedicated funding stream besides that sales tax that they have used and it totals about $900 million and that includes motor fuel tax of about $300 and $350 million and Federal funds which are about $350 million, about another $200 million comes from mortgage registrations, or vehicle registrations. With those dedicated funds now we still had to delay a few projects, expansion and modernization projects, but we are doing, which I think is extremely important, the preservation of our roads overlays heavy preservation in some cases that will keep our roads in excellent condition and that’s where we want to be. (Kyle) Kansas Secretary of Transportation, Richard Carlson. Back to you Jamie.
(Jamie) Thanks Kyle! Folks come back after these messages for this week’s Kansas Soybean Update.