Abraham introduces bill to direct billions of dollars toward rural infrastructure projects
WASHINGTON - Congressman Ralph Abraham, M.D., R-Alto, introduced a bill Wednesday to provide rural communities with access to more than $2 billion in grant funding for infrastructure improvements.
The Revitalize Rural America Act creates a $2.1 billion grant program administered by the Secretary of Transportation to fund rural infrastructure projects such as improving and expanding federal-aid highways, tunnels and bridges; expanding broadband internet access; water and wastewater projects; navigation projects; and electrical grid projects in rural areas.
States, local governments and other public and private entities would be eligible to apply for the grants, and awards would go directly to the winning entity, rather than funneled through state governments for distribution.
“Our country has an infrastructure problem, and too often rural America gets left out of funding opportunities. My bill will provide rural Americans with direct access to billions of dollars that they can use to address critical needs in their communities, like fixing water systems, building bridges and expanding broadband internet,” Dr. Abraham said.
The grant program will be funded by redirecting money earmarked for beautification and recreational programs in the FAST Act, the five-year transportation funding bill passed in 2015, and reducing funding for the Capital Investment Grant, a program that builds streetcars and trams mostly in large urban areas in California, New York and Florida.
“No American should see brown water coming out of their faucets while the federal government is building gardens and bike trails in cities. My bill redirects federal funds currently going to urban wish-list projects and sends them back to local communities where rural Americans can make the investments their towns need to grow and succeed,” Dr. Abraham said.