The Montana Grain Growers Association supports BNSF Railway’s proposal to build a second parallel bridge over Lake Pend Oreille.
This bridge project is important to agriculture in a large portion of the United States, from North Dakota to Kansas, from Washington to Minnesota, and beyond. Due to the nature of global commodity markets, shipping costs and restraints have a profound effect on all farmers’ receipts. Montana is a state with vast resources and few consumers. We rely on long-distance transport of our goods for delivery to our customers. Eighty percent of our wheat crop is exported, and most of that traverses Lake Pend Oreille. We cannot overstate our interest in eliminating the bottleneck created by a single lane bridge.
BNSF Railway has been making great strides towards increasing the efficiency of its northern route. They have invested millions in upgrades over the past five years, and we are impressed with their commitment to efficient service. Their willingness to invest in Idaho track should be applauded. Imagine the frustration and inefficiency if everyone who takes a passing interest in this project were to encounter a single lane bridge on their drive to work each day. We think the public would ask, “How soon can we fix this?” rather than “Should we fix this?
The Sandpoint Junction Connector project makes sense to Montana Grain Growers, and we ask that all entities work together to expedite the permitting process.
Lola Raska, MGGA Executive Vice President
Great Falls, MT
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