by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
After years of “discrimination” by Washington bureaucrats, rural communities are finally set to get a long overdue share of federal money for roads, rail, and airports, a key promise from President Trump.
In a major funding shift championed by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, officials have revealed that rural areas that received 21% of $7-$8 billion in infrastructure funds in past years will get up to 70% in a campaign to improve transportation safety and capacity.
“Rural America is not looking for a handout. They merely want not to be overlooked or discriminated against and to have their fair share in the distribution of federal resources,” Chao told us about her new program, Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success, or ROUTES.
In the less than two months after Chao first talked about it in St. Louis, ROUTES has been embraced by transportation officials around the country as a boost to help increase safety and move goods through small towns. …
… ROUTES is winning cheers in Congress, too.
“Almost half of all traffic fatalities in the country occur on rural roads, despite only one-fifth of the U.S. population living in these rural areas. This disproportionately high number is due, in part, to crumbling infrastructure and lack of funds to fix the issues,” said Arkansas Republican Rep. Bruce Westerman.