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Rethinking Federal Investments in Rural Transportation

Posted by Content Coordinator on Tuesday, April 12th, 2011




The Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) offers this Rural Policy Brief as a contribution to the current dialogue regarding the ongoing nature and scope of transportation investment in the United States, specifically the implications of these decisions for our nation’s rural communities and regions.  The policy recommendations outlined below reflect a detailed, evidence-based analysis, but also incorporate the accumulated policy and program insights gained in over two decades of RUPRI assessment of the rural differential impacts of public policy.

RUPRI’s rural transportation policy principles, therefore, are fully consistent with our emphasis upon a new paradigm for public and private investment in rural America: “Rural Regional Innovation.”  This framework, equally applicable in all public sectors, is premised upon several overarching principles for policy and program practice:

  • Recognizing and valuing the interdependence of rural and urban economies and regions, and the vital contributions that rural people and places make to national prosperity and well-being, particularly through the stewardship of the nation’s natural and cultural resources.
  • Encouraging systems-based and collaborative approaches to the design and delivery of public services in rural areas, across jurisdictions and sectors, as a direct, pragmatic response to the challenges of long distances, low densities, limited institutional capacity, and declining fiscal resources.
  • Identifying, valuing, and stewarding economic, social and environmental assets of rural region to create new economic opportunity for all rural people, particularly those in regions of persistent poverty and disinvestment.
  • Focusing on innovation and entrepreneurship as the key to rural economic development, to ensure that rural regions and communities are not only maximizing their economic competitiveness, but also their resilience in the face of natural and economic challenges and/or disasters.
  • Providing the complement to metropolitan economic clusters that thrive on proximity and the strength of interactions, through supporting and growing economic activities that need and value space, and can thrive on community and virtual networks.



Download full version (PDF): Rethinking Federal Investments in Rural Transportation: Rural Considerations Regarding Reauthorization of The Surface Transportation Act

“The Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) provides unbiased analysis and information on the challenges, needs, and opportunities facing rural America. RUPRI’s aim is to spur public dialogue and help policymakers understand the rural impacts of public policies and programs”

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