Congressman spotlights rural roads, bridges in ongoing funding debate

A Missouri congressman said a long-term transportation funding bill is especially crucial for rural road and bridge projects.
A Missouri congressman said a long-term transportation funding bill is especially crucial for rural road and bridge projects. | Shutterstock
U.S. Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, said at a Wednesday hearing that without a long-term surface-transportation re-authorization bill, rural states would not fund highway and bridge projects that are not a state or local priority, but that are nonetheless important to the country.

“Rural roads are rarely in the spotlight because they don’t suffer from the severe congestion we see in our cities and suburbs, and they are not often in the limelight for flashy ribbon-cuttings,” Graves said. “But rural roads and bridges are what knit our highways together into an interconnected, national system. They make it possible for freight to move seamlessly throughout the country and for tourists to enjoy road trips at low cost, and they allow other motorists to travel conveniently for short trips or long distances.”

Graves said 71 percent of all lane-miles of public roads and 73 percent of all of the nation's bridges are located in rural areas, and that the percentages are even higher in his home state of Missouri.

“Missouri farmers and ranchers depend on these roads to get their products to market domestically and internationally,” Graves said. “Rural or local roads often provide the critical “last mile” connection to rail facilities, our inland waterways and our ports, and they provide the infrastructure for the only form of public transportation most rural communities have – local or intercity bus service.”

Graves said he continues to work with U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, on achieving a long-term surface-transportation re-authorization bill that will provide reliable funding for states.

Organizations in this story

U.S. Representative Sam Graves (MO-6) 906 Broadway Exd Hannibal, MO - 63401

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