Federal infrastructure bill could impact the Valley
With August recess just two weeks away, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators is working to come to an agreement on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package.
The potential bill includes nearly $600 billion for roads, transit, and even electric vehicle infrastructure. Another $266 million is spread out among water, power, and a new line item.
"Money for broadband to make sure every single American has access to high quality, affordable broadband,” U.S. Secretary Of Commerce Gina Raimondo said. “We don't normally think of broadband as infrastructure, we think of roads and bridges and trains...I think everybody saw during COVID that internet is as essential as anything else. We saw kids couldn't go to school because they didn't have internet, people couldn't go to work - they didn't have internet…”
City of Brownsville leaders echoed the importance of broadband internet connectivity. In 2018, the city began plans to bring broadband to areas of Brownsville with little or no connectivity.
The city recently used almost $20 million from American Rescue Plan funds for installation of 95 miles of underground fiber.
Brownsville City Manager Noel Bernal says lack of connectivity is a 21st century barrier for typically underserved communities.
Secretary Raimondo says those communities are the target for the potential upgrades.