Rural America looks to Trump to help with crumbling infrastructure


Lawmakers and policy experts say the White House cannot forget rural America as it prepares to release the outlines of its infrastructure spending package.

“If you look at the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the House, it’s dominated by rural legislators, and rural areas certainly can’t be left behind,” said Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., a sixth-generation farmer who is chairman of the infrastructure committee’s highway and transit subcommittee. “I don’t think the president has any intention whatsoever of leaving rural areas behind.”

The White House does not plan to release the outlines of a proposed infrastructure bill for Congress to consider until after Republicans complete tax reform, but as it deliberates, experts say the plan must emphasize rural districts that voted heavily for President Trump.

“Any proposal that’s just uniformly focused to coastal urban areas is not going anywhere in Congress,” said Joseph Kane, a senior research analyst in the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution. “Whereas more rural sections of the country don’t face the same levels of congestion and the same stresses we are seeing in cities, there are still significant needs in terms of connectivity, in particular freight connectivity when it comes to rail, highways, and intermodal improvements.” – READ MORE

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