Approximately 1.2 million households in the state, many of which are in the district, still need a permanently fixed broadband connection. The lack of broadband availability across Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula is unacceptable.
For six years, Rep. Jack Bergman promised Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula that he would work to expand broadband services in our rural communities. Over half a decade later, still nothing, and he continually votes against it. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, which Rep. Bergman adamantly opposed, set aside $65 billion for America's spotty broadband system.
Bob will push for this initiative and similar like it because 68% of people living in rural areas and tribal lands do not have broadband access, according to research by the FCC.
A 2018 U.S. Government Accountability Office report indicates the actual number may be even higher. Previous attempts to invite broadband expansion have yet to be successful, as Rep. Bergman exclusively concentrated on attracting private corporate investment. Although there is a role for private enterprise, all of Bergman's efforts failed.
Bob Lorinser applauds several organizations, specifically Michigan Broadband Cooperative, Connected Nation Michigan, and Center for Change, who are leading the way in advancing the conversation of broadband access in rural Northern Michigan.
At a local level, rural broadband can significantly improve our students' learning. It can assist our daughters in pursuing their passions in STEM programs to become engineers, scientists, and world leaders. It can help our sons realize their dreams of studying international business and communicating globally.
Access to consistent, reliable broadband will also enable Northern Michigan residents to work from home, positively transforming our economy and attracting opportunity and investment to the area.
Investments in broadband increase access and usage to amenities, digital skills, online education, and job search opportunities. It leads to higher property values, increased job and population growth, higher rates of new business formation, and lower unemployment rates.
Broadband expansion also improves health and life outcomes, offering access to remote healthcare providers, online social networks, and educational opportunities.
At a state level, the infrastructure bill provides $100 million to extend broadband coverage and provide nearly 2.5 million low-income Michigan households the opportunity to apply for funds to help afford internet access, a goal Bob Lorinser champions.
No child should have to sit outside a fast-food restaurant to connect to wifi to do their homework.
The improvements from the Bi-partisan infrastructure plan will be the most significant single infusion into our country's infrastructure in over a decade.
This investment is desperately needed. This bill creates family-sustaining jobs, advances careers, and helps small businesses grow. It upgrades crumbling infrastructure. Jack Bergman opposed the bipartisan agreement, which will ignite the economy and put money in working families' pockets and food on the table, all without raising taxes."
The most recent report card on Michigan's Infrastructure by the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the state an overall GPA of D+. Michigan's civil engineers studied 13 infrastructure categories. Of those 13, nine infrastructure categories are in mediocre condition, and four are in poor condition.
Michigan’s Failing Infrastructure Grades by the ASCE
Investment is desperately needed to create family-sustaining jobs, advance careers, and help small businesses grow. It is critical to upgrade crumbling infrastructure that will ignite the economy and put money in working families’ pockets and food on the table, all without raising taxes.
Bob Lorinser says investment in rural broadband could be a “game-changer” for the First District. We must build a robust energy grid, advance public transportation, provide access to clean drinking water for hundreds of thousands, and start to meet the broadband needs of rural Michiganders, many of whom live in the First District. We need transformative, historic bipartisan investment.
Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment in Michigan:
$7.3 billion for highway repairs for Michigan
$1 billion for environmental protection of the Great Lakes
$563 million for bridge replacement and repairs
$100 million to provide broadband coverage and connect at least 398,000 residents to the internet
Jack Bergman opposed a bill that would provide $65 billion in investment to improve broadband, with at least $100 million directed toward providing broadband coverage to at least 398,000 residents in Michigan.
Bob will support legislation that lowers the price of internet services, creates price transparency, and helps more low-income households access the internet.