U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury and U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and Chuck Schumer introduced the Rural Outdoor Investment Act Wednesday.

The ROI Act is aimed to promote economic growth in rural communities by investing in outdoor recreation infrastructure, planning and business development.

“New Mexico is a powerhouse in the outdoor economy, with our beautiful and wild landscapes and thriving local economies, which is why I am proud to introduce the Rural Outdoor Investment Act with Senator Bennet,” said Stansbury, who represents New Mexico’s 1st congressional district. “The outdoor economy brings billions of dollars to New Mexico every year and employs over 35,000 people across the state. New Mexico is proof that investments in our outdoor economies help revitalize and create opportunity in our rural communities. This legislation centers and supports these communities, providing support for outdoor recreation infrastructure, planning assistance and financial support for businesses. I know this bill will help support our communities and protect our outdoor spaces for generations to come.”

This legislation would provide vital capital to rural communities across the country working to revitalize and grow their economies through the outdoor recreation industry by providing $50 million a year in recreation and economic development funding. It would also promote collaboration between the Economic Development Administration, USDA Rural Development and the Small Business Administration to educate communities and businesses about existing federal resources.

The Rural Outdoor Investment Act would invest:

  • $30 million for public works through EDA. This would fund necessary infrastructure improvements from signage, to boat ramps, to new trails;
  • $5 million for planning grants through EDA for communities to create recreation economy plans that optimize their natural places including marketing, branding, business development, fundraising and tourism management;
  • $2.5 million in university partnerships to promote place-based research, education and technical assistance to local stakeholders and businesses for this high growth sector; and
  • $12.5 million for the Recreation Economy for Rural Communities grants for Main Street revitalization through outdoor recreation.