Trump’s Infrastructure Plan May Create Urban-Rural Divide in Congress

Representatives and senators in rural regions are concerned that the private investors would focus only on cities

The Washington Post

President Donald Trump’s plan to tap the private sector to rebuild $1 trillion worth of roads, bridges and rails has encountered an early problem: geography. 

The administration says it will rely on private investors to supply the vast majority of cash to support a decadelong infrastructure rebuilding effort. But members of Congress from rural areas are wary.

That is because private investors are looking for infrastructure projects that throw off steady streams of revenue, from which they derive their profits, and those tend to be found near population centers.

Some rural lawmakers have already begun to raise doubts about the few specific infrastructure proposals Mr. Trump has made.

Republicans such as Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas have questioned Mr. Trump’s endorsement of a plan to privatize the air-traffic control system, saying private ownership could give short shrift to small rural airports.  

Sen. John Barrasso, (R., Wy.), chairman of the Senate’s environment and public-works committee, has told local media outlets that an infrastructure package shouldn’t require tolls on the lightly traveled highways in his state, the least populous in the country.

Support from Republicans, many who represent rural areas, will be crucial in getting a large infrastructure package through the GOP-led Congress, since many Democrats have said they would oppose efforts to rely on tolls, rather than federal aid, to pay for building projects.

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