“I started this session with a commitment to increase funding for local rural roads and broadband expansion. Today, I achieved these goals.
The JFC voted to send $156 million more to counties, towns and municipalities to fix our local roads. We also increased State Highway funding by $320 million to invest nearly $1 billion by 2021. We increased our investment through reforms, reasonable fee increases and modest bonding.
We also allocated $44 million for Rural Broadband Expansion Grants from the Federal E-rate program. The grant program will be able to distribute $22 million per year over the biennium. We are spending more this year than we have distributed, in total, since the program began in 2014! I am optimistic and excited about the potential impact of this investment in our rural communities.
As we near the conclusion of the JFC’s work on the state budget, we are working hard to balance all of our priorities. I am encouraged by the fact that we have consistently been able to increase funding for important priorities without raising taxes and spending beyond our means.”