Biden administration officials launch rural infrastructure tour
Cabinet members and other senior officials are fanning out across the country on a rural infrastructure tour to make sure rural residents are aware of the provisions in what the Biden administration calls the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, intended to bring more broadband internet access to rural America, build roads and bridges, and fight fires.
Forest Service Chief Randy Moore and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland are in Colorado today for an event with Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, and Rep. Joe Neguse, all Colorado Democrats, to launch the tour.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was supposed to participate in the tour, but he is quarantine in Iowa with COVID-19.
Polls show President Biden is not popular in rural America, but in a statement today, Biden said, “For far too long, opportunity has been out of reach for rural communities. My administration is changing that.”
“Through the American Rescue Plan, we supported rural families and provided rural communities with the tools and resources that made them central to America’s strong economic recovery.
“I also secured historic investments for rural America through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to make sure we revitalize and rebuild rural communities for years to come. These generational infrastructure investments will provide rural communities across America affordable high-speed internet, clean drinking water, reliable electricity, better roads and bridges, and good-paying jobs.
“Strong infrastructure in rural communities is good for jobs, good for keeping the economy moving, good for lowering prices, and good for America.”
On a call to reporters, Mitch Landrieu, the former New Orleans mayor who is the senior White House adviser responsible for coordinating implementation of the infrastructure law, said that providing high-speed internet service and making it more affordable is the No. 1 program in the law for rural America.
It is followed by ensuring clean drinking water and sanitation, better roads, upgrading electricity, being resilience against wildfire and providing outdoor recreation. The law will also use “Buy America” provisions to bring back manufacturing to the United States.
Vilsack, who participated in the press call, said he thinks of the road provisions in the law as making it possible for emergency medical personnel to save lives. Bridge and dam repair can make it possible for farmers to get a better price for the products because the United States will be more competitive, he said.
Vilsack said the infrastructure Law is the most significant investment in rural America in many years, “probably since the Depression.”
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