In a letter to President Trump today, the American Bankers Association and the Independent Community Bankers of America urged the president to make the revitalization of rural America a priority for any new national infrastructure program. The letter stressed the need for improved transportation systems, communications networks and other infrastructure to ensure the industry’s continued vitality, noting that the sector employs millions of people and exports billions of dollars’ worth of agricultural products each year.
The associations outlined three fundamental principles that should drive any major infrastructure legislation, noting that any such bill should “significantly benefit rural America to ensure the long-term ability of our farmers and ranchers to continue… feeding and clothing the world” and refrain from granting broad new lending authorities to the Farm Credit System or other government-sponsored enterprise. It should also not assess any new tax on the commercial banking industry to pay for infrastructure development, the groups added.
The groups also urged the president to encourage partnerships with the private sector — including America’s banks — to increase the building and development of rural infrastructure. “With the ability to develop creative, novel ideas and adjust to a rapidly changing world, the private sector and the commercial banks that serve this sector can offer the most economical and efficient solutions to the challenges facing our infrastructure development needs while minimizing taxpayer dollars.”