WASHINGTON – The National Telecommunications and Information Administration has awarded three grants totaling more than $5 million to Iowa to support the expansion of high-speed Internet access. The investment stems from the bipartisan infrastructure bill Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sponsored last year. Funding for critical infrastructure from this legislation is now benefiting and improving communities across Iowa, with this latest announcement giving a boost to much-needed broadband initiatives.
“Iowans in every corner of the state need reliable internet access for work, school and telemedicine appointments in today’s economy. While we’ve made great strides in expanding Internet access in rural Iowa, there’s still work to be done. That’s one of the many reasons I supported the bipartisan infrastructure bill. I’m glad this bill will help expand and improve Internet access for all Iowans, and I will continue to do my part to ensure that more of Iowan’s hard-earned taxpayer dollars flow back to our state.” said Grasley.
The bipartisan Infrastructure Act guaranteed a total of $65 billion for broadband services, with a particular focus on unserved and underserved communities – including Iowa. This latest announcement includes a $5 million Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) planning grant to the State of Iowa and a more than $400,000 Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program grant to the Meskwaki Tribe in Iowa. In addition, Iowa will receive a grant of over $700,000 from the Digital Equity Program to develop broadband plans.
Subsidies from the non-partisan infrastructure law have already been approved for many other projects across the country. Recently, businesses in Allamakee, Hamilton, Washington and Winneshiek counties received over $5 million in new financing through the ReConnect Loan and Grant Program to expand Internet access.
Last month, the Federal Highway Administration announced that Iowa City will receive a $300,000 grant to improve highways and bridges. In August, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced nearly $25 million in total grant funding to the cities of Dubuque, Muscatine and Waterloo to help complete road, bridge and other related projects. In addition, with funding from the bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) updated its five-year plan to include many other road and bridge improvement projects. In July, USDOT announced that five Iowa airports will receive a total of $27 million in grants under the Fiscal Year 2022 airport terminal program created by the bipartisan Infrastructure Act.
Earlier this year, the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System — which is responsible for providing rural water service to northwest Iowa communities like Rock Rapids, Hull and Sioux Center — received $75.5 million from the infrastructure bill. Project leaders plan to use this investment to complete a 17-mile pipeline, construct two-meter-tall buildings, and construct a new pumping station. On the other side of the state, the US Army Corps of Engineers announced an $829.1 million investment in lock and dam upgrade projects along the upper Mississippi River — one of the top five priorities for infrastructure improvement in Iowa.