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Agricultural News


Rural Oklahoma Advocacy Organization Applauds final Passage of Bi-partisan Infrastructure Agreement

Thu, 11 Nov 2021 10:04:55 CST

Rural Oklahoma Advocacy Organization Applauds final Passage of Bi-partisan Infrastructure Agreement The final passage of the bi-partisan infrastructure agreement passed by Congress last week represents a desperately needed investment in Rural America according to Clay Pope, Chairman of the Oklahoma Rural and Small-Town table of common interests (Table of Common Interests). Pope said this investment will have a huge impact across the board on rural infrastructure.

“It was a long time coming, but with the President’s signature we are going to see the largest investment in rural infrastructure that we have seen in a generation,” Pope said. “It’s a great day when members from both sides of the isle come together to negotiate something like this. With this large investment in broadband, as well as investments in areas like water and waste water, highways, ports and flood control, this potentially could have as big an impact on rural Oklahoma as any bill we have seen in decades.”

Earlier in the year the Oklahoma Rural and Small-Town table of common interests held an informational forum on the need for investment in broadband in Rural Oklahoma (videos of the presentations made at the conference can be seen here https://bit.ly/OklahomaRuralBroadband).

According to Pope, at that time the telecommunications needs of Oklahoma had become more and more evident during the covid 19 pandemic. Now with the passage of this act $65 billion new dollars will be invested nation-wide in building out the countries broadband system including over $42 billion that will go to states and territories to help unserved and underserved areas, $2 billion for tribal efforts and $2 billion to go through existing USDA Initiatives. “We all saw how our children and schools struggled with virtual education during the pandemic and how businesses and individuals struggled with the changes and challenges caused by social distancing and lock downs. This investment in broadband will go a long way in helping ensure this doesn’t happen again,”

Pope said. In addition to broadband, Pope said that the bill will help address other rural infrastructure needs as well. “We’ve seen now the need for infrastructure investment with the current bottle-neck in shipping and transportation that developed in Covid 19’s wake,” Pope said. “Let’s face it, our infrastructure is a mess. “We built the best system in the world, but then we quit.

The pandemic has shown that we have to reinvest in our country if we are going to be able to compete with the rest of the world and ensure that our Rural areas are not left behind.

With $110 billion earmarked for roads, $40 billion for bridge projects, over $17 billion for ports and inland waterways, $25 billion for airports, $66 billion for rail, $55 billion for water projects, over $73 billion to update and expand the power grid and on and on and on, this bill represents the largest investment in infrastructure since at least President Eisenhower’s push for the interstate highway system.

It’s about time that we invest in our infrastructure and we are excited to see President Biden sign it into law."


   

 

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