U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi)—chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation—recently introduced S.3842, the Rural Infrastructure Advancement Act.
“Rural states, like my home state of Mississippi, often face challenges when trying to find the financial resources necessary to fund critical infrastructure projects, such as improving our roads and bridges,” Senator Wicker said in a statement. “This bill would provide professional technical assistance to rural communities interested in utilizing existing financing programs. It is important that we provide these resources to support and advance rural infrastructure.”
The Rural Infrastructure Advancement Act would:
- Establish a Rural Assistance Pilot Program within the bureau that retains expert firms—approved by U.S. DOT—to provide financial, technical, and legal assistance to potential rural project sponsors seeking to apply for a loan or grant.
- Authorize funding for U.S. DOT to carry out the pilot program.
- Direct U.S. DOT to develop an online portal for receipt of pilot program applications and provide written notice of its determination regarding each application.
- Direct U.S. DOT to post information about the pilot program online, including the resources available, application process, and status of submitted applications.
Back in October, U.S. DOT announced the Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success (ROUTES) Initiative designed to support transportation needs in rural areas around the country. A month earlier, Senators Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and Mike Braun (R-Indiana)—both members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry—introduced the Rural Economic Infrastructure Equity Act of 2019, a bill to improve federal support for the transportation infrastructure needs of rural areas in the U.S.
SOURCE: Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation