Increasing congestion in popular tourist destinations, inadequate roads to serve growing agricultural and energy output, and emerging cities that are not connected to the Interstate system all require immediate attention and investment to ensure that America's rural areas stay connected, according to a new study from the Washington-based American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). AASHTO's "Connecting Rural and Urban America" suggests using federal legislation to address the issues.

More investment is needed in America's rural transportation system to keep agriculture, new energy products and freight moving; improve access for travel, recreation and tourism industries; connect new and emerging cities; and ensure reliable access to key defense installations, according to AASHTO. "Improving connectivity and mobility for the 60 million Americans who live in rural areas is just as important as improving mobility for those who live in metropolitan areas," said AASHTO Executive Director John Horsley.

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