Sigh of relief heard across South Dakota as rail system vital for economy

Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 4:23 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -There’s a sigh of relief among many that have dealt with the uncertainty of a rail workers’ strike.

Jared Bernstein, on the council of economic advisors for the President, says there are so many ways we benefit from what comes to us via rail.

“The chlorine the communities need to keep their water systems clean and safe and drinkable,” said Bernstein.

Farmers are Top of mind with the railroads crossing through the state.

“You don’t need an economist in Washington telling farmers in South Dakota how important the rail system is to transport their feeds and their grains. It’s essential, and if you’re thinking, if anybody’s thinking, well let’s just put it on a truck, we would need something like a half a million trucks by like tomorrow for that to happen, and that’s just not realistic,” said Bernstein.

South Dakota may rely on trains even more than other states. The President of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association says other states have more options.

“The geography, if you think about it, we’re actually a very landlocked state,” said Scott Stahl. “We don’t have access to the Mississippi River or barges on the Missouri River that would allow for transportation other than the rail.”

The rail line affects those on the receiving end too.

“It’s very critical to our partners in the ethanol industry. About half of the corn in South Dakota is used up by ethanol plants,” said Stahl. “Our industry can continue to thrive and provide opportunities for our farmers across the state.”

Congressman Dusty Johnson believes stepping in was essential and not taken lightly.

“Congress has had this power for over 100 years, and during that time, we have used this power dozens of times,” said Johnson.

Senator Mike Rounds preferred a time of cooling off, but that measure didn’t pass. He chose the next option. “They will have two years of the continuation of the contract, which the advisory board had recommended, be adopted by both sides,” said Rounds.