COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – President Joe Biden signed the bipartisan infrastructure bill this Monday. Senator Raphael Warnock spoke with News 3 this afternoon about what the signing of the bill means for the state of Georgia.
Now that the bipartisan infrastructure bill has been passed, $1.2 trillion dollars will be spent to build back bridges, roads, expand internet access, and more. Senator Warnock advocated for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs act, allowing $65 billion to be invested into broadband. With this investment, the $65 billion will be divided into four ways. $42.4 billion will be granted to states, $2 billion will be given to rural areas, $2.75 billion for digital equity, and lastly $14.2 billion will be given for broadband subsidy for low-income families.
Warnock told News 3 he is elated now that this bill has been passed.
“Listen, it’s a great day, infrastructure week is finally here. This is an amazing piece of legislation and I’m grateful that the people of Georgia, because of the way they stood up, are largely responsible for what’s going to happen today. We are passing this bipartisan infrastructure bill, it’s America’s home improvement project, long overdue,” Warnock said.
Warnock said the passing of the bill will help improve the state of Georgia tremendously.
“There are billions of dollars in this bill, for public transportation. We’ve got $1.4 billion dollars for the state of Georgia, we’ve got nearly $9 billion to improve Georgia’s highways and roads, access points. $100 million for broadband, in a time where broadband is to the 21st century what electricity and electric lights were to the 20th century. You can’t live without it and I’m so delighted about all of the resources that will be delivered to Georgia here shortly,” Warnock said.
According to Warnock, there’s still a lot of work that must be done to get the funds to the local government so they can begin working on rebuilding the community. Warnock said it may be a while before the money makes its way into the community.
“In my view, it can’t come soon enough but know that I’m working every single day to make sure that these resources get to where they need to go and that they get there as soon as possible. In fact last week I pushed the FCC to make sure that hundreds and millions of dollars due to Georgia to address some of our rural broadband got there. They’ve been responsive and it’s more to come and so I say stay tuned, help is on the way,” Warnock said.
Last spring, during Senator Warnock’s tour to raise awareness about the importance of internet access in rural areas, he made a stop at Waverly Hall, Georgia, to discuss how affordable and accessible broadband has become an issue in rural and low-income communities. Even though the infrastructure bill has been signed, Congress is still discussing the soft infrastructure bill, also known as the Build Back Better Act.The Bill would allow $1.2 billion for federal programs to expand affordable and accessible broadband to rural communities such as Waverly Hall.
“I’m concerned about both access to broadband and affordability. We have to address both of those needs and that’s why I’m so grateful that we passed this provision of $62 billion in our country for broadband and employment. $14 billion of that were for digital equity and what that will do will provide people with subsidies so that they can get online. $30 a month subsidies and an edition to that in the upcoming Build Back Better Bill, I have a device for every American Act. Which provides $500 million to make sure that low-income Georgians can get a laptop, can get a tablet. So you have to be able to afford the connection and you need a device,” Warnock said.
Not only is the bill about providing broadband and rebuilding communities, but it’s also going to provide jobs.
“It’s about creating opportunities and as I move across the state, I talk to farmers who are frustrated because they can’t even farm efficiently without a broadband connection. So this infrastructure bill is about jobs, it’s about opportunities, it’s about building a clean energy future to strengthen our economy now in the wake of this pandemic. More importantly, to prepare us well into the future and Georgians played a major role in this. If they had not stood up in the way that they did months ago to send me to the United States Senate, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. So it’s a great day for America, It’s a great day for Georgia,” Warnock said.
Warnock said the passing of the bill came at a great time.
“I think it’s good news, and it could not come sooner,” Warnock said.