U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik recently supported the E-BRIDGE Act, which will — as her office stated — help forward the expansion of rural high-speed broadband internet access. It is a bill that is important to our region.
However, in great contradiction, she recently voted against the infrastructure bill that contains funding for rural broadband access saying that “it prioritizes Green Deal policies over traditional infrastructure, such as roads and bridges.”
In fact, the largest monetary outlay in the new spending side of the infrastructure bill is $110 billion for bridges and roads; that is followed by $73 billion for our aging electric grid with ongoing work now taking place in the north country. Amtrak receives $66 billion, yet there also is money for freight rail maintenance and safety that will impact rural regions over the long term.
The next big outlay is $65 billion for the aforementioned broadband internet expansion. Water projects in the West and the inner cities also get much needed assistance.
A further expenditure that our counties will benefit from is for bus fleets. St Lawrence County, for one, has developed over the past 15 years a regional bus system fostered through federal grants that transports many of our residents to work, shopping and other activities.
Much the same is true of our neighboring communities. There also is a line of support for school bus fleets to go electric, which will help school systems on fuel costs and eliminate diesel exhaust emissions that occur as our children are picked up and dropped off at school. I encourage a close look at the entire bill as it is carefully crafted, bipartisan funding legislation that originated in the Senate, which will benefit the entire nation.