U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue testified before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing entitled “Rebuilding Infrastructure in America: Administration Perspectives.” Secretary Perdue was joined by Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Department of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, and Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
Excerpts from Secretary Perdue’s opening statement:
“…It’s the goal of this Administration to work with the Congress – the Senate, and the House – in determining how to get this done. There is no dispute about the need for infrastructure – for America, and for job creation, and for others; and it’s up to all of us to deliver for the American people.
“…The roads, the rail, the waterways of this country have contributed to our ability to deliver farmer-produced, rancher-produced products to the world in a very competitive fashion; and it’s very important that we continue to do that as well.
“Surface transportation is extremely important. Roads and bridges in rural areas where trucks cannot transport across ailing bridges contribute to a lack of productivity. Certainly, the waterways have contributed in draining the heartland of a productive America – they have been very vital in doing that. Our locks and dams are years old, and there’s data that say if some of these locks fail, several of these states thousands of producers as well as billions of dollars of agriculture products could be impacted as well.
“…Today the high-speed internet is that interstate highway of the 21st century. And we need a ubiquitous highspeed internet system across this country not only for the farm steads and the rural towns but the fields of America.
“…There are products on the shelf today that manufacturers are waiting to deploy when we have the opportunity for ubiquitous broadband activity. And frankly, this will only spur more as we get there.
“So, I’m very pleased with the interest and the energy regarding ubiquitous broadband across America in that way I do believe it’s particularly transformative in that area… I love the spirit of this committee: in a bipartisan fashion of understanding the need. How do we do it? Let’s just get it done for the American people because it’s needed in order for American producers in agriculture to remain competitive…
*NOTE: Secretary Perdue’s remarks as submitted to the record are available here: www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2018/03/14/secretary-perdues-prepared-opening-statement-rural-infrastructure