OPINION President Joe Biden has unveiled a blueprint to “create millions of good jobs, rebuild our country’s infrastructure and position the United States to out-compete China.”
Known as the American Jobs Plan, the proposal outlines a $2.25 trillion investment during eight years.
- Repair our roads, bridges and dams.
- Modernize public transit and airports.
- Expand broadband access.
- Ensure safe drinking water in all communities.
- Upgrade housing, businesses, schools, hospitals and other buildings. Build resilience to climate change.
To offset the cost, the plan would amend the corporate tax code.
Though strengthening rural infrastructure has long been a priority for the National Farmers Union, the issue has become a particular concern as the pandemic and climate change-related events have further stressed our systems and revealed deficiencies.
After decades of neglect our nation’s infrastructure is barely holding together – a fact that has become especially apparent after the pandemic and extreme weather events disrupted the food-supply chain, energy production and other critical services. As the climate continues to change, our systems will inevitably be strained in other ways they are in no way prepared for. While much of the country could use infrastructure updates, rural communities have suffered disproportionately from underfunding. Those neighborhoods contain a larger portion of crumbling roads, bridges and dams. They also lack internet connectivity, affordable housing and medical resources, all of which is holding residents back and contributing to rural flight.
It’s really encouraging to see those issues and others included in President Biden’s American Jobs Plan. We sincerely hope this will set the stage for comprehensive improvements that strengthen rural communities, build resilience to climate change and hasten economic recovery. In the coming weeks and months we look forward to reviewing the plan and subsequent legislation in greater detail, including the pay-for provisions.
Rob Larew is president of the National Farmers Union, which advocates on behalf of almost 200,000 American farm families and their communities. Visit NFU.org for more information.