“Driving Growth”- ARIP Improves Rural Roads

One of the biggest logistical challenges, for many farmers, often occurs on the roads just outside their farms. Wisconsin farmers help feed the world. They strong and reliable roads in place to make sure that the food they produce is able to leave the farm and arrive to market quickly, reliably, as well as efficiently. That’s where the Agriculture Road Improvement Program (ARIP) comes in. 

“The funding in ARIP is targeted to the first-mile roads and bridges that farmers use every day,” Tim Fiocchi, Senior Director of Governmental Relations for Wisconsin Farm Bureau said. “These are the small, Class B and weight-restricted roads that connect our farms to county and state highways. Unfortunately, many of these roads are in awful condition. Our small towns need financial support to maintain as well as improve them. This program fills this need.”

What is ARIP?

ARIP will offer grants to assist in the reconstruction of vital roads essential for farm operations in rural Wisconsin. The program will operate on a 90-10 matching grant basis. 90 percent of funds will be allocated by the state and 10 percent by local authorities. The primary focus of ARIP is to address roads critical for agricultural activities that may not experience high traffic but are indispensable for farmers. There is also includes those affected by weight restrictions.

Funding for the program has already been appropriated. The first rounds of grants are expected to be released this spring. The Department of Transportation, in collaboration with industry stakeholders, has streamlined the application process to ensure simplicity as well as accessibility for potential applicants.

Farmers and local officials will be encouraged to apply for grants through the Department of Transportation. The application process, facilitated through a user-friendly online platform, will require details regarding the specific road or infrastructure in need of repair or upgrade to alleviate weight restrictions.

While the selection committee is yet to be finalized, it will comprise both local officials and industry representatives. Reporting requirements will ensure transparency and accountability, with progress updates provided to the legislature and the Department of Transportation.

“Investing in rural road infrastructure is an investment in the economic growth, safety, and connectivity of our rural communities in Wisconsin,” says Fiocchi. “By prioritizing funding for rural roads, we will ensure that our farmers, businesses and residents have reliable and efficient transportation networks to thrive and contribute to the overall prosperity of our state.”

Additionally, the program is expected to have positive economic implications, potentially creating job opportunities and ensuring the affordability of food products for consumers.