When it comes to maintaining infrastructure, we know there are higher costs down the road when we are not regularly reinvesting, and as a nation, we are falling behind on basic transportation needs as well as the important infrastructure of the future, like Broadband. This means the total price tag of such a bill will be high, but that is largely because it is clearly past time for national infrastructure investment.
The Republican-led Kansas Legislature has done some good on infrastructure, but there has been no help in Washington from the Republican members of our delegation.
Republicans in the Kansas Legislature have generally been positive about the Kelly Administration's efforts in Economic Development, and this includes another ten-year infrastructure program, the Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Plan. Of particular significance is the investment for Broadband, which is built into that plan for highways and bridges. No question, that is positive for many of our rural areas and small towns that are today without Broadband. But to really deliver on our total demands for Broadband, we need what President Biden is proposing in his infrastructure plan, and our Republican Congressional delegation needs to find ways to help.
Given the recent investments the state has made on Broadband, it's clear that from the state-level, Kansas is ready to put these dollars to work right now, in order to improve internet access statewide.
The value of expanding access to Broadband cannot be overemphasized for the best interest of Kansas collectively but most seriously for those areas not now served. Quality of public education, particularly in sparsely populated areas, can really be enhanced. Likewise, in delivering needed health care, Broadband would make a real difference. But maybe most important is the value Broadband will be to existing businesses and attracting startups that are likely non-starters without it.
We should not let our Republican delegation in Washington get away with hiding behind any concern about raising taxes or, God forbid, raising the national debt given their record on both issues in recent years. Their lack of consistency is off the charts. They had no problem borrowing a couple trillion for Trump’s pandemic package not that long after cutting the taxes of the richest individual taxpayers as well as corporations that often find ways to pay nothing and will further benefit financially from implementation of the Biden Infrastructure plan. But, despite all this, Republicans have already vowed not to cast a single supportive vote to address our clear infrastructure needs.
So why is this contrast with Republicans between D.C. and Kansas so hard to understand? I have given it some thought, and I am down to just one possibility. Maybe the explanation is tied to the actual measurable distance between the constituents and those representing them. D.C. is so far off that the real needs of the people do not rise to the top of priorities like they do in Topeka. I feel confident that most rural Kansas Legislators have constituents raising Broadband deficiencies as a critical priority.
Now, let’s get to the real message. I accept the fact that my making these points directly to our Congressional delegation (with the exception of Congresswoman Davids who is on board) in D.C. has no value or return. So I am reminding all of you who are reading this message that your direct contact by text, email, or phone message, just might get their attention and make a difference. Your efforts would particularly be effective if you can share a specific community or location that would significantly benefit from Washington Broadband help. The need is undeniable, and the time to act is now.