House Ag rural infrastructure hearing | TheFencePost.com

House Ag rural infrastructure hearing

The House Agriculture Committee held a hearing on infrastructure on July 19 that got little attention since Congress and President Donald Trump seem more focused on health care and tax reform.

But at the hearing, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, emphasized the importance of the federal government's role in rural infrastructure.

"Like urban America, rural America has its share of roads, bridges and water systems in need of repair. But we face unique challenges that are different from our neighbors," Conaway said.

"At the root of many of these problems is the need for capital to be invested in rural America," Conaway continued.

"Our shifting population, moving out of rural counties and into urban and suburban counties, is also shifting the tax base, making it difficult for small communities to finance the upgrades they need to continue to be competitive in the modern economy. It is a cycle that seems unbreakable — services are lacking, so families move out; as families move out, the tax base shrinks; as the tax base shrinks, services must be curtailed and upgrades must be postponed.

"While it's tempting to think this is a local problem, it is not. Our modern economy is built on the free movement of goods and ideas. We cannot grow our nation's economy if 50 million rural Americans are unable to participate."