NAWG on Bipartisan Infrastructure BillTue, 10 Aug 2021 12:49:14 CDT
Earlier today, the United States Senate passed a historic infrastructure bill after several months of negotiations. The roughly $1 trillion bipartisan bill was passed by a vote of 69 to 30, receiving strong bipartisan support and includes $550 billion in new investments in critical infrastructure. In addition to the new infrastructure funding, this legislation reauthorizes the existing surface transportation programs for five years and significantly invests in roads, bridges, railways, waterways, ports, and rural broadband.
“NAWG applauds this bipartisan effort that makes significant investments in updating our traditional infrastructure, which can bolster American agriculture and rural communities. The ag community relies on a functioning infrastructure network of roads, railways, locks and dams, and ports to transport their goods from the farm to consumer both domestically and overseas,” said NAWG President and Cass City, MI wheat farmer, Dave Milligan. “Prioritizing investments in infrastructure will enhance wheat growers’ competitiveness in the international market. Additionally, continuing to build out rural broadband infrastructure provides immeasurable benefit to growers and ensures rural America is not left behind.”
In April, NAWG sent a letter to Congressional leaders outlining several key priorities for infrastructure investments, as well as noting our concerns with tax reforms that would negatively impact family farms. The Senate-passed bill includes several areas that will directly benefit wheat growers and rural America. This legislation includes $110 billion in new funding to repair traditional roads and bridges, which is of particular interest for rural communities that may rely on a single bridge or highway to get goods to market. Another piece of the bill invests $17 billion in port and waterway infrastructure to address repair and maintenance backlog and reduce congestion.
Modern, resilient, and capable ports and waterways play a vital role in supporting U.S. competitiveness by removing bottlenecks and expediting commerce. The bill also invests $65 billion to expand high-speed internet access to every American. While 97 percent of people in urban areas have access to high-speed fixed service, only 65 percent of people have access in rural areas.
As the infrastructure bill goes to the House of Representatives, NAWG urges Congress to continue working in a bipartisan fashion that will benefit wheat growers across the nation. Additionally, as legislators continue to look at offsets in this or other legislation, it is critical to avoid tax reforms that would undermine the future of farming in the United States.
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