Sec. Perdue: Rural America will see major benefits from Trump’s infrastructure plan

Throughout American history, we have been recognized as a global leader in many areas, but we are in distinct danger of squandering advantages we hold over other countries when it comes to our infrastructure system.

Once the envy of the world, our infrastructure is crumbling and inadequate, and our nation risks slipping behind in economic achievement.

Under President Trump’s “Building a Stronger America” infrastructure agenda, we can restore our position in the world and steer America back to prosperity, particularly in rural America.

He committed $200 billion in new federal funding that will catalyze at least $1.5 trillion in infrastructure investment nationwide, allowing state and local governments to make investment decisions based on what’s needed in their communities.

Importantly, Trump committed $50 billion, or a quarter of all newly announced federal funding, solely to modernizing and repairing the vital infrastructure of rural America.

In my nine months in office, I have traveled to 33 states, including Iowa, taking a hard look at the challenges and opportunities in rural communities and hearing from rural citizens. At every stop, I heard about the dire need to expand broadband access, rebuild aging roads and bridges, provide clean water and supply affordable, reliable power.

Specifically, I heard from people in agricultural communities who could use better transportation for moving American farmers and ranchers’ amazing bounty and enhancing access to their suppliers and customers, both domestically and internationally. Only with reliable and efficient infrastructure can rural America’s bounty be brought to market at home and abroad.

Aside from improving the quality of life for the people who live in non-urban parts of our country, Trump’s American infrastructure initiative will create jobs for Americans. Such investment will increase our gross domestic product and boost the economy for all, including rural Americans.

At USDA, our informal motto is “Do right and feed everyone,” but we also fully endorse the president’s goal of restoring the “Made in America” label to the products we purchase and use. Neither is possible without modern 21st century infrastructure connecting our rural communities to each other, to our nation’s metropolitan areas, and to the world.

—Secretary Sonny Perdue, printed in the “The Des Moines Register” on Feb. 19.