Mayors and Elected Officials from Over 60 Cities and Counties Send Letter to President and Congress on Importance of Broadband Infrastructure

Sharing a press release from Next Century Cities…

Members of Next Century Cities Call for Congress to Include Broadband Investment in Potential Infrastructure Legislation on Day of Senate Infrastructure Hearing

Washington, DC (March 1, 2017) — Today, over 60 mayors and other elected community leaders sent a letter to President Trump, Senate Majority Leader McConnell, and House Speaker Ryan on the importance of including broadband in any plan to improve the country’s infrastructure. The letter was sent on the same day the United States Senate held a hearing on “Improving Access the Infrastructure,” focusing on transportation and information networks.

The 65 signatories, who together represent nearly 16 million Americans, believe that broadband internet access is necessary infrastructure and a key to prosperity for their communities. The mayors and other municipal elected officials are members of Next Century Cities, a bipartisan organization of mayors and city leaders focused on ensuring fast, affordable, and reliable internet access for all Americans. Signers included the mayors and high-level elected officials from San Antonio, Chattanooga, Kansas City, San Francisco, Seattle, and other communities from across the nation. See the full letter here and below.

“As mayors and municipal officials, we have each championed access for our residents to high-quality broadband in ways that are right for our communities,” the letter stated. “We are eager to have the federal government take steps in an infrastructure package that will truly improve internet access for millions of Americans, and do so in ways that recognize the importance of local leaders in making these lofty plans a reality in our towns and cities across America.”

The letter recommends three key broadband priorities for any federal infrastructure plan: access, affordability, and local solutions for connectivity. It also emphasizes that the internet is nonpartisan, and that federal leaders should work together across party lines to promote the deployment of next-generation broadband.

“Today’s letter, signed by 65 mayors and communities leaders from across the country, shows significant support for the inclusion of real investments in next-generation broadband in any infrastructure bill,” said Deb Socia, Executive Director of Next Century Cities. “This letter, signed by cities large and small, serves as a reminder to state and federal lawmakers that there is widespread, bipartisan support for the deployment of high-speed, reliable internet access.”

A full copy of the letter is below and attached:

March 1, 2017
The Honorable Donald J Trump The Honorable Mitch McConnell The Honorable Paul Ryan 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW S-230 The Capitol H-232 The Capitol

Washington, DC 20500 Washington, DC 20510 Washington, DC 20515
Dear President Trump, Majority Leader McConnell, and Speaker Ryan:

Broadband internet access is necessary infrastructure, and key to prosperity. It empowers entrepreneurship and economic growth, arms our teachers and students for success in the classroom, and gives our citizens a voice in the national dialog on our future.

That is why we, the undersigned representatives from 62 cities and counties across the nation, call on you to include broadband in any infrastructure legislation.
We are all part of Next Century Cities, a nationwide, non-partisan and non-profit membership organization of mayors and local government leaders who are committed to achieving better, faster, more affordable broadband internet access. As mayors and municipal officials, we have each championed access for our residents to high-quality broadband in ways that are right for our communities. We are eager to have the federal government take steps in an infrastructure package that will truly increase internet access for millions of Americans, and do so in ways that recognize the importance of local leaders in making these lofty plans a reality in our towns and cities across America.

Specifically, we call on you to ensure the following principles are included in any federal infrastructure plan:
• Promote Broadband Access. Seventeen percent of Americans (and some 53% of rural Americans) lack broadband access. There is an urgent need for increasing last-mile and middle-mile fiber networks to bring connectivity to all Americans. As such, Congress should consider preferencing proposals from communities that have taken steps to facilitate right of way access through policies such as One Touch Make Ready and Dig Once. Similarly, Congress should consider preferencing state applications for funding in states that have eliminated unreasonable barriers to local internet choice.
• Promote Broadband Affordability. The price of connectivity strains household budgets, putting internet access out of reach for too many Americans. Competition will drive down costs, so any infrastructure plan should include incentives for new market entrants and overbuilders.
• Promote Local Solutions for Broadband. As we show, city governments have been leaders in designing their own networks, implementing public-private partnerships, and leading the way with new multi-provider, open-access delivery models. Any infrastructure plan should include funding for these arrangements. Solutions should include nonprofit models, especially including telephone and electric co-ops.
We believe the internet is nonpartisan and that collaboration benefits all. As such, we encourage you to learn from local voices like ours, and we look forward to working with members of both parties to ensure policies that promote greater access and increased deployment of next-generation broadband in any infrastructure legislation.

Sincerely,
Mayor Dana Kirkham
Ammon, ID Mayor Norm Yoder
Auburn, IN
Mayor Steve Adler
Austin, TX Mayor Ben Kessler
Bexley, OH
Mayor John Hamilton
Bloomington, IN Mayor Mike Henry
City Manager Gary Williams
Carbondale, IL
Mayor Paul Cutler
Centerville, UT Mayor Deborah Frank-Feinen
Champaign, IL
Mayor Jennifer Roberts
Charlotte, NC Mayor Andy Berke
Chattanooga, TN
Town Manager Bernard Doyle
Chesterton, IN Mayor Dorothy Knauss
Chewelah, WA
Mayor Kim McMillan
Clarksville, TN Mayor Gary McCullough
Dahlonega, GA
Mayor John Woods
Davidson, NC Mayor Lioneld Jordan
Fayetteville, AR
Mayor John J. Collins
Fountain Valley, CA Mayor Don Boeder
Gaylord, MN
Mayor Robert Bruchey
Hagerstown, MD Mayor Barbara Delgleize
Huntington Beach, CA
Town Manager Janet Anderson
Islesboro, ME Mayor Jerry Gist
Jackson, TN
City Councilman Steve Quinn
Jefferson, GA Mayor Mark Holland
Kansas City, KS
Mayor Sly James
Kansas City, MO Mayor-President Joel Robideaux
Lafayette, LA
Chair of the Select Board Peter d’Errico
Leverett, MA Mayor Jim Gray
Lexington, KY
Mayor Greg Fischer
Louisville, KY Mayor John Giles
Mesa, AZ
Council Vice President Hans Riemer
Montgomery County, MD Mayor Rex Swanson
Montrose, CO
Mayor Gary D. Chesney
Morristown, TN Mayor Jill Boudreau
Mount Vernon, WA
Mayor David Narkewicz
Northampton, MA Mayor Gary Fuller
Opelika, AL
Mayor Greg Scharff
Palo Alto, CA Mayor James Carter
Pikeville, KY
Mayor Ted Wheeler
Portland, OR Mayor Nancy McFarlane
Raleigh, NC
Mayor Jim Barnes
Richmond, KY Mayor Rusty Bailey
Riverside, CA
Chief Executive Officer Jay Orr
Riverside County, CA Mayor Sherman P. Lea, Sr.
Roanoke, VA
Town Manager Richard C. Bates
Select Board Chair William Chapman
Rockport, ME Councilman Ron Nirenberg
San Antonio, TX
Mayor Edwin Lee
San Francisco, CA Mayor Pauline Cutter
San Leandro, CA
Mayor Bill King
City Council President Jeremy Pietzold
Sandy, OR Board of Supervisors Vice Chair Zach Friend
Santa Cruz County, CA
Mayor Cynthia Chase
Santa Cruz, CA Mayor Ted Winterer
Santa Monica, CA
Mayor Gary R. McCarthy
Schenectady, NY Mayor Ed Murray
Seattle, WA
Mayor Patricia Smith
South Portland, ME Mayor David Martin
Stamford, CT
Mayor Stephanie Miner
Syracuse, NY Mayor Laurel Prussing
Urbana, IL
Councilmember Jack Burkman
Vancouver, WA Mayor Shari Cantor
West Hartford, CT
Mayor Kelly Pierson
Winthrop, MN Council Vice President Brian Housh
Yellow Springs, OH

This entry was posted in Policy by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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