state ag department officials at White House infrastructure meeting NASDA
Photo (L to R): Maine commissioner of agriculture & forestry Walter Whitcomb; Tom Womack, deputy commissioner, Tennessee Department of Agriculture; Georgia commissioner of agriculture Gary Black; Missouri director of agriculture Chris Chinn; NASDA president and Louisiana commissioner of agriculture & forestry Dr. Michael G. Strain; Arizona director of agriculture Mark Killian

State ag officials discuss infrastructure with Trump officials

Infrastructure priorities include consistent access to broadband across rural America and improvements to waterways system.

State and local officials discussed with the Trump administration infrastructure investment ideas at a meeting Aug. 30. The purpose of the event was to underscore the need for a different approach, outline draft guiding principles, and allow those participating to brainstorm actions to help carry this conversation on the need for change and the opportunity to empower state and local leaders back to their states and communities.

President Trump in his 2018 budget plan proposed $200 billion of direct federal infrastructure spending over 10 years, with the goal of using it to leverage an additional $800 billion in state, local and private investment. However, details of how to pay for his proposal have not been determined.

National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) president and Louisiana commissioner of agriculture & forestry Michael G. Strain, along with Arizona director of agriculture Mark Killian, Georgia commissioner of agriculture Gary Black, Maine commissioner of agriculture & forestry Walter Whitcomb, Missouri director of agriculture Chris Chinn, New Jersey secretary of agriculture Doug Fisher, and North Carolina commissioner of agriculture Steve Troxler represented NASDA at the White House meeting Aug. 30 to discuss the critical needs of our nation’s infrastructure.

The meeting comes as a follow-up to a recent White House Infrastructure Summit with government officials on all levels. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, Ray Starling, special assistant to the president for agriculture, trade and food assistance, and DJ Gribben, special assistant to the president for infrastructure policy were all present for the rapid-fire dialogue.

Strain noted the importance of these continued discussions as they help enhance infrastructure partnerships and work to improve the regulatory systems contributing to the nation’s aging infrastructure.  

“Agriculture depends upon infrastructure to transport products down the road and around the world,” said Strain. “We look forward to working with our federal partners to develop a streamlined permitting process to boost stagnant infrastructure projects.”

“As we work at the state level to address infrastructure, it's vital the federal government prioritize investments in our nation’s infrastructure. This includes consistent access to broadband across rural America, and improvements to our waterways system. These foundational investments in infrastructure keep Americans employed and our ag industry competitive,” he added.

The #RebuildRural Coalition is comprised of more than 200 organizations representing U.S. agricultural producers, rural businesses, rural communities and rural families. On February 22, 2017, the coalition wrote to President Donald J. Trump encouraging him to prioritize rebuilding infrastructure in rural America.

 

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