Opinion

Biden Wants to Bring Big Dreams Back to Rural America

President Biden regularly emphasizes how the major pieces of legislation he has signed — the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act — expand opportunities for Americans.

This is especially true for rural Americans. Those three laws appropriated billions of dollars — about $464 billion — that is particularly relevant to rural communities, allowing them to dream of a different economic future.

I am often asked if rural voters will give Mr. Biden credit for all that money and the changes it could bring, and will show their appreciation at the ballot box. My answer is that it is unrealistic to expect place-specific investments to have an immediate impact on elections.

Rural places remain skeptical that federal policymakers have their best interests at heart. Proving otherwise will take intention and time.

Above all, implementation matters. These investment opportunities will be meaningless unless they reach rural America. For that to happen, federal and local officials, and many people in-between, will need to focus on intentional targeting and sensitivity to the challenges that rural places face.

It is important to keep in mind that many rural governments are led by unpaid elected officials, and few rural city halls have staff to work on planning, project development and grant writing.

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