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Bridge Hardening Needed After Baltimore Bridge Disaster

The Key Bridge disaster in the Port of Baltimore wasn’t the first to hit agriculture and other industries and may not be the last unless protective measures are taken, says one farm state senator. Nineteen major bridge disasters have taken place since 1960. Baltimore is just the latest.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says given the hit to agriculture, more bridges need protection. Grassley says, “Protections around the structures that hold the bridges up. And I think some of the bridges already have those protections, but not every bridge has a protection, and that’s what needs to be looked at.”

At the American Farm Bureau, Economist Danny Munch says, “A more robust and resilient infrastructure is only going to help farmers and other exporters that rely on those ports, and so many jobs, so much income, and tax revenue is all based on these ports being able to operate efficiently.”

And while Baltimore handles just a fraction of farm exports, Munch says there could be supply chain impacts starting locally for soybeans and bigger trade in farm equipment and fertilizer. Munch says, “Folks that aren’t able to get fertilizer or soybeans in the Delmarva Peninsula are going to become reliant on other pathways for those supply inputs, meaning they’re going to look into other places and could put pressure onto some locations like the Midwest.”

Salvage crews had cleared a shallow channel into Baltimore Harbor and planned to work on a deeper one when more wreckage is removed.

Story courtesy of NAFB News Service and Matt Kaye/Berns Bureau Washington

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