Making Progress in Bridging the Digital Divide

Dear Friend,

Early last month, I wrote to you all about a bill I introduced to help bridge the digital divide—the E-BRIDGE Act. I’m proud to report my bill passed out of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee this week. Now, it will head to the whole House for consideration.

It’s not a big or flashy bill, it’s just six pages long—and one of those is the title. Only in Washington, right? What it lacks in length though, it more than makes up for in common sense.

See, it doesn’t create some massive new government program or try to re-invent the wheel. My bill simply gets rid of some red tape that prevents local communities from using Economic Development Administration (EDA) grants for internet infrastructure projects. It just gives local communities more control and allows them to partner with the private sector to get internet infrastructure projects done.

It’s that kind of common sense that Washington seems to be missing a lot of these days. In the era of the 24-hour news cycle where everything has to be a fight, sometimes we just need to take a hard look at the federal government and find ways to fix it—however small—that we can all agree on.

That’s exactly what the E-BRIDGE Act is all about. It isn’t some $18 bajillion monstrosity of an “infrastructure” bill, it’s a big step forward for folks that still can’t get reliable high-speed internet service—whether they live in rural areas, in the suburbs or even in some cities. This kind of bipartisan solution won’t make the nightly news of cable TV, but that’s not what it’s about.

It’s about getting something done and giving more control back to local communities. After all, folks around here know a lot more about how to bolster their local economy than a couple of desk-jockeys in Washington, DC.

I’m proud that we got this bill out of committee and even prouder that we were able to get it done unanimously. Now, I hope we can keep moving this critical legislation forward to help get these internet infrastructure projects done without breaking the bank.


Sam Graves