Today, despite the fact that rural and Tribal communities across the country are asset-rich, they make up a disproportionate number of persistent poverty communities. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework invests in rural and Tribal communities, creating jobs in rural America and wealth that stays in rural America. The Framework delivers 100% broadband coverage, rebuilds crumbling infrastructure like roads and bridges, eliminates lead pipes and service lines, builds resilience to climate change and extreme weather events, and puts Americans to work cleaning up pollution that has impacted fossil fuel communities in rural America.
In addition to being the largest-long term investment in our infrastructure in nearly a century – four times the infrastructure investment in the 2009 Recovery Act – the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework is a generational investment in rural America.
Investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework to strengthen and create jobs in rural communities include:
Provide high speed internet to every home. More than 35 percent of rural Americans and Tribal communities lack wired access to broadband at acceptable speeds. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Frameworkinvests $65 billion, including through USDA rural broadband programs, to make high-speed internet available to all Americans, bring down high-speed internet prices across the board, and provide technical assistance to communities seeking to expand broadband. With the 1936 Rural Electrification Act, the Federal government made a historic investment in bringing electricity to nearly every home and farm in America, and millions of families and our economy reaped the benefits. Broadband internet is the new electricity. It is necessary for Americans to do their jobs, to accelerate precision agriculture, to participate equally in school learning and health care, and to stay connected.
Ensure clean drinking water in every home. Across the country, including in rural and Tribal communities, pipes and treatment plants are aging and polluted drinking water endanger public health. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework invests $55 billion in clean drinking water. It will replace 100 percent of the nation’s lead pipes and service lines, benefiting up to 10 million American households and 400,000 schools and child care centers. The Framework invests in water infrastructure across America, including in Tribal Nations and disadvantaged communities that need it most.
Fix Rural Roads and Bridges. As part of a $110 billion investment to repair America’s crumbling infrastructure, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework invests in fixing 10,000 off-system bridges, many in rural areas, that provide critical linkages for communities to economic opportunity.
Build Drought, Fire and Flood Resilience. Last year, the United States faced 22 extreme weather and climate-related disaster events with losses over $1 billion – a cumulative price tag of nearly $100 billion. These included damaging floods, fires, and wind storms across rural America. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework invests $52 billion to help communities build resilience to wildfires and floods through investments in forest management and upgrades to critical infrastructure — such as elevating buildings, roads, and bridges, hardening physical infrastructure, and winterizing the power grid. And, it will fund state and local infrastructure improvements and emergency response strategies, such as planning grants to support the development of evacuation routes or upgrades community shelters.
The Framework also helps Western farmers, ranchers, Tribes, families, and communities better prepare for future droughts. It invests in ecosystem restoration, such as the restoration of wetlands that can reduce flood risk for communities.
Plug Orphan Wells, Clean Up Abandoned Mines, and Remediate Idle Rural Property. In rural and Tribal communities around the country, former industrial and energy sites are now idle and sources of blight and pollution. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework provides the full American Jobs Plan funding level — $21 billion – to create good-paying union jobs plugging orphan oil and gas wells, cleaning up abandoned mines, and remediating Brownfield and Superfund sites in rural areas and on Tribal lands. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework will create jobs and build wealth in communities across the country that powered our economic growth for decades and have been affected most by the impacts of climate change and pollution, including rural communities and communities of color.
Connect Rural Communities Through Rail. U.S. passenger rail lags behind the rest of the world in reliability, speed, and coverage. China already has 22,000 miles of high-speed rail, and is planning to double that by 2035. The lack of rail options affects rural communities in particular. This the largest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak 50 years ago. The Framework invests $66 billion in passenger and freight rail, including to bring world-class rail service to areas outside the northeast and mid-Atlantic.
Build and Upgrade Airports, Ports, and Waterways in Rural America. While the United States pioneered the modern aviation industry, today, U.S. airports lag far behind and many rural airports need repair. Only 9 percent of roads outside ports are in good or very good condition and the American Society of Civil Engineers gives America’s Inland Waterways infrastructure a D+. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework meets this challenge by investing $16.3 billion in port infrastructure and $25 billion in airports to address repair and maintenance backlogs, reduce congestion and emissions near ports and airports, and drive electrification and other low-carbon technologies. Modern, resilient, and sustainable port, airport, and freight infrastructure will help American farmers and ranchers sell their goods around the nation and world by removing bottlenecks and expediting commerce and reduce the environmental impact on neighboring communities.
Build Electric Transmission Infrastructure in Rural America. Power outages cost the U.S. economy up to $70 billion annually. For example, the recent Texas power outages caused estimated losses of up to $90 billion for the state. At times, rural communities can be without power for days during these outages. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework meets this challenge by making the single largest investment in transmission in American history. It creates a Grid Development Authority at the Department of Energy to enable a national, clean energy power grid and funds to support activities that reduce the impacts to the electric grid and communities from extreme weather, wildfire, and natural disasters. It deploys long distance, high voltage transmission to enhance reliability and resilience, lower costs, and integrate the highest value clean energy resources. It invests in research and development for advanced transmission and electricity distribution technologies, and smart grid technologies that deliver flexibility and resilience. And, it invests more than $22 billion in demonstration projects and research hubs for next generation technologies like advanced nuclear reactors, carbon capture for industrial plants, and green hydrogen.