Repairing and replacing our older infrastructure, as well as deploying high speed internet access, is essential not only to maintaining our global economic advantages in our urban and suburban areas, but to enabling our rural communities to attract and retain 21st century jobs. I break down our infrastructure needs into the categories of connectivity, mobility, and utilities.
Connectivity – Internet access has become essential to participating in almost every aspect of American life, and high-speed internet access is a critical component of most businesses. Yet even now when I cross Central Texas, I lose basic cell phone service in many parts of our rural counties. The situation is similar to the 1930s, when, according to Senator George Norris of Nebraska, rural Americans were “growing old prematurely, dying before their time; conscious of the great gap between their lives and the lives of those whom the accident of birth or choice placed in towns and cities.” I support an effort akin to the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 – to bring high speed connectivity to every American home and business.
Mobility – Mobility is also an essential part of American life – woven into both our economy and our society. While high speed internet access will allow for remote work from, and delivery of remote services to our rural communities, Americans will always be on the move. Mobility improvements are key not only to supporting the growth of our metro areas, but to making rural communities attractive places to live. Any infrastructure plan must address the diverse mobility challenges we face across Central Texas
Utilities – A critical aspect of revitalizing our rural economies is assuring that these communities can deliver the necessities needed to make them attractive places to both live and locate businesses. Many of our smaller communities are struggling with the costs of updating aging infrastructure, especially with water delivery systems. An infrastructure plan must provide funds to assist communities in bringing these sometimes century-old systems up to date.