Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO) released the following statement regarding the Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success (ROUTES) Initiative to address rural infrastructure. U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced the establishment of ROUTES earlier today.
“I commend the Secretary for this initiative to focus needed attention on the rural infrastructure that ties together America’s vast transportation network and our economy.
“Seventy-one percent of the Nation’s public road lane-mileage, for example, runs through rural America. In my home state of Missouri, these percentages are even more pronounced – 82 percent of our roads and 81 percent of our bridges are in rural areas. And nationwide, 82 percent of structurally deficient bridges are rural bridges.
“Our farmers, businesses, and residents rely on safe, efficient roads, bridges, waterways, rails, small airports, and more to connect us to markets throughout the country and the world. Making sure that small and rural communities can compete for federal infrastructure dollars will help maintain our critical national transportation network. This Administration continues to demonstrate its strong commitment to rural America.”