South Dakota's Rural Roads

Charles Lamberton, South Dakota State University

Economics Research Report 91-10


Transportation remains a vital link for agriculture and changes in the local farm to market road network can significantly affect farm costs. The income of South Dakota farmers is generally a residual after all costs, including transportation costs, have been deducted from prices received. These prices are determined in national and international markets and do not respond to regional differences in costs of agricultural transportation. Therefore, South Dakota farm income is directly affected by transportation and the costs and benefits of the local rural road network. To remain competitive in agricultural markets. South Dakota agriculture must be as efficient as possible. This requires that the rural transportation system be efficient.
The characteristics and financing of this network are described in this paper as an introduction to studies of the required extent of the network in the late 20th century. A subsequent report describes studies of some local rural road systems, methods of evaluating the efficient extent of those systems, and outlines of their net costs.