Biden Administration Releases Infrastructure “Rural Playbook”; Goes on Tour

The Biden Administration on Monday (4/11/22) released its “Rural Playbook” for delivering infrastructure investment and opportunity in rural America—a multi page site (also available here as a 17 page PDF) describing how the administration plans to make good on its promise to bring high speed internet, safe roads and bridges, modern wastewater treatment and reliable electricity to small towns country wide. 

Then, Tuesday, members of the administration—like Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm—hit the road for a tour of several states with large rural populations to highlight the benefits of the infrastructure package targeted at America’s heartland. Among the more interesting specifics were $42.5 billion to bring high speed internet to unserved and underserved regions, administered by the Department of Commerce, plus another $2 billion to tribal governments to fund the same; $4.7 billion to create jobs remediating and restoring polluted “orphan oil wells” around the country—“places where industry extracted resources like oil and natural gas then abandoned the site”—administered by the Department of the Interior; $5 billion for updated school busses (let’s be honest, an undiscussed but critical part of every rural child’s life is waiting for the bus on the little bench or lawn chair in that Dad-built sheds at the end of the gravel drive); $44 billion for drinking and wastewater programs; nearly $1.8 billion for river and lake restoration; $1 billion for improved energy transmission systems; and dozens, and dozens more. 

The tour will run throughout the month of April and includes stops in places like Alaska, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Washington and West Virginia, and is seen as an opportunity to focus attention on, and reassure rural voters about, areas of American infrastructure that often go unnoticed or un-talked about by politicians in Washington. 

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