Cindy Hyde-Smith

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U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) has joined U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) to introduce legislation to remove barriers for rural areas in need of federal infrastructure assistance—a plan that stands as a stark alternative to the Biden administration’s infrastructure approach involving huge tax increases and trillions in added federal debt.

The Paving the Way for Rural Communities Act (S.820) would benefit rural counties by exempting federally funded projects in any areas that are not part of a metropolitan statistical area from certain federal reviews that delay and drive up costs for public infrastructure.

“Rural towns and communities struggle financially and administratively to comply with the regulatory hurdles to gain access to federally funded infrastructure projects,” Hyde-Smith said. “This legislation would remove burdensome regulations, allowing these rural communities to better compete for important federal resources to improve public services.”

“Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan will increase government control, tax hardworking Americans, and cause our federal deficit to skyrocket,” said Blackburn.  “While America’s roads and bridges need repair, especially in rural areas, there are countless ways to fix this without harming working families.  This bill is a tax-free alternative that will strengthen our nation’s infrastructure and remove regulations that prevent rural counties from fixing their roads.”

Federal laws, such as the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, and the Endangered Species Act, add enormous cost and complexity to local communities trying to work with federal departments and agencies on highway construction or economic development projects.  These laws sometimes hinder private entities from investing in rural communities and allow urban counties to gain a disproportionate advantage on federal infrastructure projects.

S.820 would level the playing field for rural America.  It has been referred to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Hyde-Smith also cosponsored similar legislation introduced by Blackburn in the 116th Congress.

MageeNews.com is an online news website covering Simpson and surrounding counties as well as the state of Mississippi.

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