Senator John ThuneEfficient transportation systems are essential in any economy. Producers need reliable, cost-effective means to move goods to market, and people require safe, suitable roads to get to work, school, and accomplish the tasks of daily living. We may not think too hard about our transportation systems every day, but they are extremely important.
I have served on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee since 2007. This position has allowed me to be closely involved in crafting policies relating to South Dakota's highway and rail systems, as well as the interstate shipping that is vital to South Dakota's economy. I also served as a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the House of Representatives.
I now serve as the ranking Republican member on the Surface Transportation Subcommittee, which has direct jurisdiction over highway, rail service, and trucking issues. In this capacity, I chaired a Commerce Committee field hearing in Sioux Falls earlier this month. During this hearing, transportation and agricultural leaders from South Dakota and elsewhere offered testimony on how to improve rural transportation infrastructure to better serve producers and consumers alike.
In the future, our economy will increasingly rely on an efficient and safe system to transport goods to markets. Congress will soon write a new surface transportation bill that will guide our transportation policy for several years. I have been involved in this process before, and I know how important it is for rural states like South Dakota to be fairly represented in the debate. The information I gathered in the Sioux Falls field hearing will be very useful in making sure South Dakota's needs are addressed in the bill.
Transportation infrastructure development is an issue that requires cooperation and communication between state, local, and federal officials. It also requires input from businesses as well as private citizens. I look forward to working with public and private leaders across South Dakota as the next surface transportation bill moves ahead.
A safe, reliable, and affordable transportation system is essential to South Dakota's economy. As South Dakota changes, our transportation system will have to adapt. The flow of people and goods is critical for continued economic growth. The federal government can facilitate this growth, but it must do so in cooperation with state and local authorities. I look forward to working with South Dakotans to make our transportation system better in the years ahead.