On Monday, the Trump Administration released a $1.5 trillion dollar plan to rebuild and revitalize America’s infrastructure. The agriculture industry, which has long-voiced concerns over America’s roadways, waterways and railways, is pleased with the attention given to rural America in the proposal.
“President Trump’s ‘Building a Stronger America’ plan promises to bring long overdue improvements to the country roads, bridges and broader infrastructure that farmers and ranchers depend on to reach customers at home and abroad,” said Zippy Duval, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “While past infrastructure plans have left rural America in the dust, this administration has not forgotten the rural communities that form the backbone of our nation.”
According to Duval, the $50 billion allocated to rural America will “help restore our deteriorating infrastructure and protect U.S. agriculture’s place as a world leader in production.”
The president’s plan gives local government the authority to spend funds as they see fit.
“President Trump has made it a priority to rebuild our infrastructure since the day he took office and he has followed through on that commitment. No area of the country needs investment in infrastructure more than rural America. With a quarter of the new federal money heading to rural parts of the country, states will have the ability to expand broadband access, increase connectivity, rebuild roads, and supply affordable utilities,” said Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. “Importantly, states will have the flexibility to choose which projects will best meet their unique needs.”
The National Farmers Union said this plan is the first step to rebuilding America’s cracked infrastructure system.
“We are encouraged that the Administration is acknowledging the need for significant investment in rural infrastructure. With over $3.6 trillion required to overcome decades of deferred maintenance, our nation’s roads, bridges, rails, locks and dams, water and waste systems, and rural broadband are in desperate need of robust funding,” NFU president Roger Johnson said in a statement. “We look forward to working with Congress to maximize opportunities to improve rural America’s failing infrastructure.”
The Work Begins
In March, the Senate Commerce Committee will start holding hearings to help inform legislative efforts on the administration’s proposal.
“Through this guidance and letting Congress have the opportunity to write bipartisan legislation, President Trump has offered us direction to meet infrastructure needs in our nation’s states, cities, and rural communities,” said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) Thune chairman of the committee. “Aligning federal infrastructure funding with local priorities and looking at other impediments to building would increase accountability and help us meet our most critical infrastructure needs faster.”
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), ranking member on the committee, said he looks forward to working with the committee to craft a bill that will garner “broad support” and include ideas from both sides of the aisle.
“Modernizing our transportation and communication networks is something we all agree the U.S. desperately needs in order to create more jobs and maintain our leadership in the global economy,” he said.