Aderholt Leads Fight for Alabama CARES Fund Flexibility to Improve Rural Broadband
For Immediate Release: August 7, 2020
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-04) released the following statement after leading a bipartisan Congressional letter with Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) to House and Senate leadership urging them to take immediate and necessary actions regarding rural broadband funding from the CARES Act.
“The Coronavirus pandemic has put a spotlight on the unacceptable reality of rural broadband in America. I have been fighting to solve this problem for years, and while we have made lots of progress, there is still a long way to go. To be clear, this issue is far from new, but we are in a time now when access to high speed, reliable broadband is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. For America to thrive we must not leave rural communities behind in a digital divide. It is high time we get rural broadband done.
That’s why I am leading a letter to House and Senate leadership urging that CARES Act funds be eligible for permanent rural broadband infrastructure and that Congress provides additional time for the buildout of new infrastructure. Currently, state and local governments can only spend CARES funds on temporary broadband solutions. I believe it’s necessary to invest in permanent broadband solutions so we can meet immediate needs caused by the continued COVID disruption. To me, this is a no brainer, and the bipartisan support for this issue is evident from my colleagues across the aisle who joined me in sending this letter. We all know that rural America deserves solid broadband, and I will continue to fight for this issue until it is done.”
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey joined Rep. Aderholt in calling on Congressional leadership to take action, saying, “Improving access to broadband across Alabama has long been a priority of my Administration, and with the support of the Legislature, we have taken steps forward. However, when this pandemic hit and as many Alabamians worked remotely from their homes for both work and school, the need for greater connectivity in Alabama was highlighted even more. I urge Congress to provide flexibility in funding for states to be able to implement a permanent solution for our broadband infrastructure. I thank Congressman Aderholt and the other members of our House delegation for continuing to fight on this important issue.”
Alabama Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh added, “I would like to thank Representative Aderholt and the other members of the Alabama delegation for their diligent work on this effort in the House of Representatives. Alabama is fortunate to have a representation in Congress that understands that Broadband connectivity in today's world is no longer a luxury; it is a necessity. I look forward to continuing to work with our delegation as we push for greater broadband accessibility for families across the state."