Ag Reacts to American Infrastructure Proposal
Encouraging, but more can be done. That’s the initial reaction from western agriculture and rural community leaders to the massive infrastructure plan proposed by President Biden.
The $2 trillion infrastructure proposal
$100 billion to expand high-speed broadband that would prioritize broadband networks owned, operated by, or affiliated with local governments, non-profits, and coops. Something Biden has said would encourage connections in rural areas.
Biden: “ Millions of Americans lack access to reliable high-speed internet, including more than 35% of rural America. It’s a disparity even more pronounced during this pandemic. American Jobs will make sure that every single, every single American has access to high quality, high-speed internet.”
But the National Ag and Water Resource Coalition - comprised of more than 200 agricultural organizations and urban and rural water districts say they want to see more investment in the nation’s aging water facilities.
Western Growers President and CEO Dave Puglia released a statement saying “Decades of neglect have rendered our federal water projects unable to meet the human and environmental needs of the West” and “While highways and bridges are front and center in the administration’s proposal, federal investments in water storage and conveyance would present an opportunity to strengthen our farming and rural communities while providing good-paying jobs and an economic boon for the construction industry.”
Family Farm Alliance Executive Director Dan Keppen added, “The severe drought punishing much of the West only emphasizes the need to plan now for future droughts and provide the funding needed to not only fix but to ‘build back better’ the national system responsible for delivering water to homes, businesses, farms, and the environment.
National Water Resources Association President Christine Arbogast said. “ Infrastructure needs in the West are different from other regions of the country, and they deserve the attention and investment which will come from the vigorous debate which will now begin in earnest.