Washington, D.C. – During a U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing on infrastructure with five of President Trump’s cabinet secretaries, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) urged Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Labor Secretary Alex Acosta to support Nevada’s growing need for infrastructure investments, specifically funding for Interstate 11, investing in SMART communities, and expanding rural access to broadband.
On Interstate 11 Cortez Masto said, “Secretary Chao, within the plan – page seven – there’s a reference to rewarding rural interstate projects through the infrastructure incentives program. And I know you spent time in Las Vegas, thank you very much. You know that many of our seventeen counties, actually fifteen, are rural along with Arizona, which also has its fair share of rural communities. We are working to invest and move forward Interstate 11, as you well know. Will the Interstate-11 project benefit from this program as you envision it?”
Chao responded by saying it will “depend on how it’s financed,” but that she hopes it’s possible for Interstate-11 to receive additional funding from the infrastructure incentives program.
On rural broadband access Cortez Masto said, “There is no direct reference to broadband funding in the incentives program or broader dedicated funding directly for broadband deployment. Am I mistaken? Is that true? I don’t see it anywhere and maybe, Secretary Perdue, since you’ve been talking about broadband in rural communities.”
Perdue conceded that it is not included in the infrastructure incentives program, but said that he welcomes this proposal to meet “our need for ubiquitous broadband.” Cortez Masto added that she supports the inclusion of rural broadband funding in the infrastructure investments program and commended Secretary Perdue for his commitment to supporting SMART communities.
“When we talk about investing in our infrastructure, it is not just horizontal construction. It is investing in broadband, investing in our communities, particularly when it comes to the uses of this new technology for infrastructure,” said Cortez Masto.
The incentive and rural programs that Cortez Masto referenced were included in President Trump’s infrastructure plan, which proposes to turn $200 billion in funding into $1.5 trillion in investment for various infrastructure projects.
Watch the full video HERE.