Infrastructure Fueling Rural Economic Development
This fourth America’s Rural Opportunity panel considers rural infrastructure and how well planned and coordinated infrastructure investments can advance rural economic development. What qualifies as “infrastructure” in rural America? Well, it encompasses the usual – roads, water lines, bridges and sewers. But in rural places, it also includes broadband and other constructed assets like airports, marinas, and even specialized facilities like kitchen incubators.
Rural community and economic prosperity depends on having the right infrastructure – and innovative solutions to providing that infrastructure are needed in rural places. But many strategies to repair and expand infrastructure that are gaining traction across the United States rely on public-private partnerships, and, with fewer players in the mix, it can be challenging to forge those partnerships in rural places. Thus, rural leaders greatly value tailored federal programs like EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, USDA’s Community Connect Grants, and USDA’s Community Facilities Grants. This panel will highlight how leading rural organizations are pulling together a wide array of tools to utilize those programs and build and maintain infrastructure that is critical to advancing their regional economies and the wellbeing of their residents.
Featured speakers include Bari Talley and Eric Cutright of the Karuk Tribe, Justin Taylor of Clayton, and Beverly Walker and John Auker from Delta Cuisine.