Gov. Daugaard offers testimony on rural infrastructure

PIERRE, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Gov. Dennis Daugaard offered testimony Wednesday on rural infrastructure at a U.S. Senate Commerce Committee hearing in Washington, D.C, led by Sen. John Thune.

“Federal transportation investment in South Dakota and other rural states benefits the whole nation, not just those rural states,” Gov. Daugaard told the committee. “Highways in rural western states enable truck movements between the West Coast and large cities in the Midwest and the East. We are the bridge between those locations. They benefit people and commerce at both ends of the journey and along the way.”

At the hearing, the Governor offered South Dakota’s perspective on federal transportation funding mechanisms. The FAST Act approach to distributing funds is preferred to approaches that would require states to toll and attract private investors, he said. According to Daugaard, rural states with lower traffic volumes would face difficulty in trying to raise private money for roads.

Gov. Daugaard also urged the committee to strengthen the Highway Trust Fund.

“Without legislation, after 2020, the trust fund will not support even FAST Act highway and transit program levels. In other words, it won’t be able to support existing program levels,” the Governor said.

Gov. Daugaard has been in Washington, D.C., for the last several days attending National Governor’s Association meetings.