Today, President Biden kicked off a three week rural America tour as part of a Building A Better America rural infrastructure tour to talk about the impact of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investments, as well as the President’s broader commitment to ensure federal resources reach all communities in rural America.
Former New Orleans and Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Coordinator, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, previewed the tour on a White House webinar today.
On November 15, 2021, President Biden signed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill that sends billions of dollars to rural communities across the country for high speed internet, safe roads and bridges, modern wastewater systems, clean drinking water, reliable and affordable electricity, and good paying jobs in every rural community.
This week, the White House released a Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Rural Playbook to help state, local, tribal and territorial governments in rural areas unlock the benefits from the historic investments in our nation’s infrastructure and launched a rural infrastructure tour led by the President and other senior administration officials to engage rural communities across the country.
The Rural Playbook, found at build.gov/rural, builds on the release of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Guidebook and provides rural communities with information on the “what, when, where, and how to apply” for funding under the law – so no community needs to hire a lobbyist to access their government. The Playbook also identifies over 100 programs funded under the law with federal cost share flexibilities and matching requirement waivers.
Across the month of April, the Biden-Harris administration will announce billions for rural areas including rural water projects, flood mitigation, transportation, healthcare, and tribal community grants, along with new technical assistance programs for rural and tribal communities.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told reporters on a call on Monday that the tour is intended for rural communities to know they are “not being left out of this historic bill.”
“It’s important for us to focus on rural America,” said Vilsack, who is not traveling on the tour yet since he tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday. “It’s an important part of America. It is critically important to the mission of America.”
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, EPA Administrator Michael Regan, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu will also take part in events, along with other senior administration officials.
Since President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law nearly five months ago, the Biden-Harris Administration has hit the ground running to deliver results. The Administration has made key progress towards implementing the largest long-term investment in America’s infrastructure and competitiveness in nearly a century.
More than $100 billion has been announced and allocated to states from formula and competitive programs for roads and highways, bridges, ports, airports, electric vehicle charging stations, water systems, high speed internet, weatherization and clean energy.
For example, earlier this month, the Department of the Interior announced $420 million for rural water systems across six states: Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota. The president also recently announced a $1 billion America the Beautiful Challenge that will leverage federal conservation and restoration investments with private and philanthropic contributions to accelerate land, water, and wildlife conservation efforts across the country.
The America the Beautiful Challenge is anchored by an initial commitment of $440 million of federal resources over the next five years to a new public-private grant program, administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), that will support locally led ecosystem restoration projects that invest in watershed restoration, resilience, equitable access, workforce development, corridors and connectivity, and collaborative conservation, consistent with the America the Beautiful Initiative.
The America the Beautiful Challenge will offer states, tribes, territories, local groups, non-governmental organizations, and others the opportunity to apply for multiple grant programs through a single application that is managed by NFWF.