The Trump administration wants to show rural communities, which voted for him by wide margins in the 2016 election, they are still on the president’s mind. It suggested a list of broad ideas in January to spark growth and carved out rural interests in an infrastructure plan.

But those who work on rural development aren’t all sure the White House has people’s best interests at heart, given that Trump has proposed making cuts to programs that benefit those areas the most.

When President Donald Trump met with state and local officials on Feb. 12 to detail the administration’s infrastructure proposal, he highlighted a special appropriation for rural areas.

“It provides $50 billion for rural infrastructure, who have really been left out. The rural folks have been left out,”  Trump said.

Eighty percent of that would be given to states based on population and the length of county roads; governors would choose how to dole it out from there.

While the infrastructure plan pledges billions for rural projects, Trump’s budget proposal would cut millions from programs that have a rural focus. In the 16 percent cut eyed for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, $103 million would be taken out of the Rural Business Cooperative Service, which the administration says has been mismanaged.

The service awards grants and loans to small and specialized businesses, filling the gap when private lenders can provide only partial financing or when companies don’t qualify for commercial loans.

Read the full article on rural development funding by Grant Gerlock at Harvest Public Media