Buttigieg: Biden administration infrastructure investments good for rural America

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg says the Biden administration is committed to improving the infrastructure that impacts rural America.  “What that means is roads, bridges, railways, ports even if your Midwestern agricultural community, nowhere near one of the coasts getting those ports developed is a huge part of how we can get exports supported when it comes to our ag sector,” he says.

Low levels on the Mississippi River have caused logistical challenges for grain exports and moving crop inputs like fertilizer up from the Gulf of Mexico. Buttigieg tells Brownfield those disruptions have not gone unnoticed.  “One of the things we’re doing is investing in port infrastructure along what we call America’s Marine Highways,” he says.  “So just like we have the US Highways and interstate highways, we actually designate numbered marine highways in a way that makes them eligible for funding that we’re using to help get the infrastructure side right.”

Buttigieg highlights funding for a project in Tell City, Indiana that helps improve challenges in the manufacturing sector.  “They had a lot of issues when the river ran too low or too high,” he says.  “It made it hard for their floating crane to operate, get to pig iron off of the barges, and up to the foundry they have there.  We invested in helping them to move that to a permanent land-based crane that can work across a bigger range of conditions on the river in terms of when it’s running high or low.”

He says climate effects will continue to impact river levels and the administration plans to invest infrastructure dollars on projects that promote resilience and keep agricultural goods moving.

AUDIO: Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg

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