Rep. Sam Graves (R-6), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, today led a hearing focusing on surface transportation challenges facing rural America.

Rep. Sam Graves (R-6), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, today led a hearing focusing on surface transportation challenges facing rural America. The hearing comes as the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, of which Graves is a member, continues to work toward reauthorization of a long-term federal Highway Bill.

“Rural roads rarely get the attention they need,” Rep. Graves said. “They don't suffer from the same congestion problems we see in cities and suburbs across the country, and as a result they are often overlooked by federal policy makers.”

“But rural roads and bridges allow our farmers, manufacturers, and energy producers to deliver products to consumers throughout the United States,” Rep. Graves continued. “These industries keep our economy growing, and they rely on rural infrastructure to knit our highways together into an interconnected, national system.”       

 

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Roughly 70 percent of all lane-miles of public road and 73 percent of America’s bridges are located in rural areas. In Missouri, the role of rural roads is even more pronounced, where 82 percent of public roads and 81 percent of bridges are in rural areas. These roads carry over 40 percent of all travel in the state.

Farming, fishing, forestry, mining and manufacturing, industries that all depend heavily on reliable infrastructure, accounted for 22 percent of earnings in rural communities in 2010. This is a significantly higher share than in urban areas. Rural roads and bridges also demonstrate the need for a strong federal highway program. Rural or local roads often provide the critical "last mile" connection to rail facilities, inland waterways, and ports.

Rural states tend to be more dependent on the federal highway program because many rural roads are lightly traveled or are used predominately by cars and trucks merely passing through the state.  Without the federal program, rural states would not fund highway and bridge projects that are critical to America’s infrastructure.

Note: This post was originally a press release from the office of Rep. Sam Graves.