Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx can’t promise any solution this fall to a rail car shortage threatening harvest season.
Farmers need rail cars to move crops, but rail has been diverted to hauling oil from the Bakken oil fields in Montana and North Dakota.
“I don’t think the trend is going to change abruptly any time soon,” Foxx replied when asked about the problem during his recent visit to Lincoln.
Foxx says Washington is aware of the problem.
“Our surface transportation board, along with our rail companies, and along with us in Washington; we’re going to have to figure out a way to create more capacity so the commodities can move,” according to Foxx.
Many in agriculture reject that notion, blaming the problem not on a lack of rail transportation, but on the delay in approving the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which would carry Bakken oil and free rail cars to move crops.
President Barack Obama has yet to decide whether to grant TransCanada’s request for a presidential permit to cross the Canadian border and build the northern portion of the oil pipeline, connecting it with the southern portion, already operating from Cushing, OK to refineries along the Gulf Coast in Texas.