Rural broadband incorporated into the President Trump’s 2021 Budget Proposal

Published: Feb. 11, 2020 at 6:32 PM CST
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President Donald Trump's proposed budget for 2021 sets aside billions for what he calls "Revitalizing Rural America" program.

The program is designated to help improve rural broadband, transportation, water, road and bridge projects across rural America.

Executive Vice President of the Rural Broadband Association of North Dakota David Crothers says any amount of money is helpful.

However, Crothers says the budget proposal actually lumps preexisting loan and grant programs, such as the USDA Reconnect Loans, into the "Revitalizing Rural America" category.

"President Trump's budget actually has a reduction for part of the USDA reconnect loans. In North Dakota we're very fortunate because Senator John Hoeven is chairman of the subcommittee of USDA that handles the rural development and the broadband loans," said Crothers.

Crothers says that the Reconnect Loans help fund projects that will improve rural broadband. In the past, the budget has grown to $600 million. Whereas this year, President Trump is proposing a $250 million budget for the Reconnect Loans.

Crothers says $250 million likely isn't enough to bring service to the 4 percent of the state not receiving broadband. However, that number could possibly change once the budget goes through Congress.