Dear Mr. President:
On behalf of our respective organizations, which collectively represent U.S. agricultural producers, rural businesses, rural communities, and rural families, we are writing to ask your support for rebuilding infrastructure in rural America. We were very pleased to hear your comments about the importance of rebuilding U.S. infrastructure. Those of us in rural communities have seen our infrastructure deteriorate, jeopardizing jobs, our agricultural competitiveness, and the health of rural families. Past infrastructure initiatives often focused on urban and suburban infrastructure while not adequately addressing the unique needs of rural communities. We ask that you address this as part of your administration’s comprehensive infrastructure renewal efforts. American agriculture truly feeds the world and creates millions of jobs for U.S. workers. Our nation’s ability to produce food and fiber and transport it efficiently across the globe is a critical factor in U.S. competitiveness internationally. Infrastructure that supports rural communities and links them to global markets has helped make the U.S. the unquestioned leader in agricultural production. Our deteriorating infrastructure threatens that leadership position. Transportation infrastructure improvement is the most obvious need in rural communities, but not the only one. Highways, bridges, railways, locks and dams, harbors and port facilities all need major investment if we are to continue efficiently getting our agricultural products to market. For example, onequarter of our road system’s bridges require significant repair, or cannot efficiently handle today’s traffic and many of the 240 locks and dams along the inland waterways are in need of modernization. In addition, though, critical needs exist in providing clean water for rural families, expanding broadband to connect rural communities to the outside world, and enhancing the ability to supply affordable, reliable and secure power for the rural economy.