Coalition urges Congress to prioritize rural infrastructure in next COVID-19 relief package
The 258 members of the Rebuild Rural coalition today sent a letter to the bipartisan, bicameral leadership of Congress advocating for increased rural infrastructure funding in any future COVID-19 relief packages.
As noted in the letter, the local, state and national organizations called on Congress to, “Ensure that our rural communities have access to: clean and safe drinking water and wastewater facilities, secure and dependable surface transportation, reliable and affordable power, healthcare, housing, and broadband and research institutions with state-of-the-art facilities, in order to thrive and attract future generations. Many of these needs — including access to broadband and quality healthcare — have become acute in the past several weeks because of COVID-19. Media have reported parents driving students to fast food parking lots for access to Wi-Fi, and the current challenges of rural hospitals which struggled to meet the needs of the communities they serve under normal conditions before this pandemic and the economic viability of rural communities.”
The coalition also urged Congress to focus on the food supply chain, writing, “Our farmers and ranchers are the most efficient producers in the world. The supply chain enabling that efficiency has kept food stocked at grocery stores and markets across the country. But the ability to meet these demands depends on robust and reliable transportation infrastructure including roads, inland waterways, ports, and railways and support for the local people and institutions that will ensure this infrastructure is able to meet 21st century realities. Deteriorating rural infrastructure, however, threatens the competitive leadership of American agriculture.”
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A new book describing the events leading up to the Beef Checkoff’s implementation and outlining a vast number of happenings since then has caused quite a stir.