Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) introduced H.R. 8368, the Rural Broadband Expansion Act of 2020.  With many small businesses, schools and Kentuckians going remote, enhancing broadband capacity for rural communities is critical.  Congressman Barr’s legislation allows flexibility for state and local governments to use funding appropriated by Congress in the Coronavirus, Aid, Recovery and Economic Security (CARES) Act for the purposes of rural broadband expansion.

“Rural communities need to have broadband access they can depend on, especially during the pandemic when so many Kentuckians are working and learning remotely,” said Congressman Barr.  “In Congress, I have made rural broadband access a priority, and this legislation will only further our mission of delivering dependable broadband internet to more Kentuckians and Americans living in rural America.”

“Deployment of broadband to rural areas is an expensive endeavor,” said Madison County Judge Executive Reagan Taylor.  “The ability to use CARES funding as an option is a gamechanger to ensuring our constituents have access for educational, medical, and workplace needs both during the pandemic and in a post pandemic world.”

“When my team and I approached Congressman Barr about our need for additional flexibility with CARES money for broadband deployment, he moved to action,” Taylor continued.  “I greatly appreciate the Congressman’s Barr’s willingness to help address the needs of not only Madison County but those across the Commonwealth and our nation.”

In 2018, Congressman Barr voted for the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which allocated $625 million to expedite the development of rural broadband by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  Congressman Barr also voted for the Farm Bill in 2018, codifying the USDA Community Connect Grant Program for rural broadband expansion and authorizing $50 million to the program each year from 2018 to 2023.  Finally, the CARES Act, which Congressman Barr supported, sent $375 million in funds for new telecommunications initiatives to include rural broadband across federal agencies.