President Trump’s new 10-year plan for “rebuilding infrastructure in America” doesn’t contain any funding specifically earmarked for improving Internet access. Instead, the plan sets aside a pool of funding for numerous types of infrastructure projects, and broadband is one of the eligible categories.
The plan’s $50 billion Rural Infrastructure Program lists broadband as one of five broad categories of eligible projects. Here’s the full list:
- Transportation: roads, bridges, public transit, rail, airports, and maritime and inland waterway ports.
- Broadband (and other high-speed data and communication conduits).
- Water and Waste: drinking water, wastewater, storm water, land revitalization, and Brownfields.
- Power and Electric: governmental generation, transmission, and distribution facilities.
- Water Resources: flood risk management, water supply, and waterways.
Eighty percent of the program’s $50 billion would be “provided to the governor of each state.” Governors would take the lead in deciding how the money would be spent in their states. The other 20 percent would pay for grants that could be used for any of the above project categories.