broadband

White House circulates states’ infrastructure needs, but doesn’t detail how much each would get

The White House is putting out a state-by-state breakdown of infrastructure needs it says would be addressed by Democratic President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion proposal dubbed the American Jobs Plan.

While the cheat sheets list states’ specific deficiencies, they don’t break out how much of the federal money would be directed to each of them under the plan. So take it for what it’s worth.

Republicans are blasting the plan for going well beyond the scope of what is traditionally considered to be infrastructure.

Here’s the full release from the Biden administration:

For decades, infrastructure in Tennessee has suffered from a systemic lack of investment. The need for action is clear:

ROADS AND BRIDGES: In Tennessee there are 881 bridges and over 270 miles of highway in poor condition. Since 2011, commute times have increased by 7.7% in Tennessee and on average, each driver pays $209 per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair. The American Jobs Plan will devote more than $600 billion to transform our nations’ transportation infrastructure and make it more resilient, including $115 billion repairing roads and bridges.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: Tennesseans who take public transportation spend an extra 67.9% of their time commuting and non-White households are 5.6 times more likely to commute via public transportation. 21% of trains and other transit vehicles are past useful life. The American Jobs Plan will modernize public transit with an $85 billion investment.

RESILIENT INFRASTRUCTURE: From 2010 to 2020, Tennessee has experienced 40 extreme weather events, costing the state up to $20 billion in damages. The President is calling for $50 billion to improve the resiliency of our infrastructure and support communities’ recovery from disaster.

DRINKING WATER: Over the next 20 years, Tennessee’s drinking water infrastructure will require $8.7 billion in additional funding. The American Jobs Plan includes a $111 billion investment to ensure clean, safe drinking water is a right in all communities.

HOUSING: In part due to a lack of available and affordable housing, 396,000 renters in Tennessee are rent burdened, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on rent. The President proposes investing over $200 billion to increase housing supply and address the affordable housing crisis.

BROADBAND: Nearly 10% of Tennesseans live in areas where, by one definition, there is no broadband infrastructure that provides minimally acceptable speeds. And 46.8% of Tennesseans live in areas where there is only one such provider. Even where infrastructure is available, broadband may be too expensive to be within reach. 17% of Tennessee households do not have an internet subscription. The American Jobs Plan will invest $100 billion to bring universal, reliable, high-speed, and affordable coverage to every family in America.

CAREGIVING: Across the country, hundreds of thousands of older adults and people with disabilities are in need of home and community-based services. The President’s plan will invest $400 billion to help more people access care and improve the quality of caregiving jobs.

CHILD CARE: In Tennessee, there is an estimated $768 million gap in what schools need to do maintenance and make improvements and 48% of residents live in a child care desert. The American Jobs Plan will modernize our nation’s schools and early learning facilities and build new ones in neighborhoods across Tennessee and the country.

MANUFACTURING: Manufacturers account for more than 15% of total output in Tennessee, employing 357,000 workers, or 11.5% of the state’s workforce. The American Jobs Plan will invest $300 billion to retool and revitalize American manufacturers, including providing incentives for manufacturers to invest in innovative energy projects in coal communities.

HOME ENERGY: In Tennessee, an average low-income family spends 8-10% of their income on home energy costs forcing tough choices between paying energy bills and buying food, medicine or other essentials. The American Jobs Plan will upgrade low-income homes to make them more energy efficient through a historic investment in the Weatherization Assistance Program, a new Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator to finance building improvements, and expanded tax credits to support home energy upgrades.

CLEAN ENERGY JOBS: Tennessee has outsized potential for innovative energy technologies including carbon capture and sequestration and geothermal energy generation, that create good paying union jobs. As of 2019, there were 79,626 Tennesseans working in clean energy, and the American Jobs Plan invests in building that industry through a reformed and expended Section 45Q tax credit and extending renewable energy tax credits.

VETERANS HEALTH: Tennessee is home to over 470,000 veterans, 9.4% of who are women and 45% who are over the age of 65. The President is calling for $18 billion to improve the infrastructure of VA health care facilities to ensure the delivery of world-class, state of the art care to veterans enrolled in the VA health care system. This includes improvements to ensure appropriate care for women and older veterans.

Company announces plans to build fiber optic system from DC suburb to Nashville

A fiber optic system would connect the Washington suburbs and Nashville under a plan announced Monday. Osprey Communications said it had struck a deal with the Virginia Department of Transportation to build the underground fiber line beneath highway rights of way from Haymarket to Bristol, Va. The company plans to continue that deployment across the state line and onward to Nashville.

Here’s the full release:

Blacksburg, Va.— Paul Elswick, Chief Executive Officer of Osprey Communications, LLC (Osprey) and Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Commissioner Stephen Brich today announced that VDOT and Osprey have executed a Fiber Optic Resource Sharing Agreement.  This agreement and the accompanying permits enable Osprey to construct an underground, multi-conduit fiber optic system in the VDOT limited-access right-of-way from Haymarket, Virginia to Bristol, Virginia. From the Virginia-Tennessee border, Osprey plans to continue the deployment to Nashville, Tennessee.

“Since its inception in 1998, VDOT’s Fiber Optic Resource Sharing program has allowed communications providers to install fiber infrastructure in VDOT’s limited-access rights-of-way. In return, VDOT has received over 4,700 miles of fiber routes to support transportation operations across the Commonwealth.” said Commissioner Brich. “Our agreement with Osprey dramatically enhances our traffic management capabilities along the I-81 and I-66 corridors, while bringing significant savings to Virginia taxpayers.”

“Virginia is the key juncture in America’s fiber optic infrastructure. Connecting major growth centers utilizing diverse protected routes with low latency is key to the sustainable growth of the world’s data needs,” Elswick said. “Osprey is meeting that need with fiber and fiber conduits to fulfill the demands of data companies and telecommunications providers alike.”

VDOT’s Fiber Optic Resource Sharing program allows telecom providers to install fiber resources within limited-access rights-of-way, which are not congested with other utility installations. Additional efficiencies are gained as providers coordinate solely with VDOT along these routes rather than multiple landowners.  In exchange, VDOT can receive compensation in any combination of goods, services and/or cash.

“This program is a win for both parties.  VDOT gets access to incredibly fast fiber capacity and Osprey is able to build its network from Ashburn to Nashville utilizing VDOT’s rights-of-,way for the Virginia portion of their route,” said Brook Lunsford, President of Osprey Communications.  “We have constructed over 10,000 miles of fiber and look forward to this project,” he added. 

“With Governor Northam’s focus on broadband deployment in the Commonwealth, we believe this agreement will not only strengthen the broadband infrastructure in Virginia, it will likely provide access to underserved communities along the route,” said Cathy McGhee, Director of Research and Innovation for VDOT. 

Elswick noted that “In addition to this project updating our aging national fiber optic infrastructure, it is personally important to me and my family that we were able to bring this fiber construction through Southwest Virginia, and continuing to upgrade the ability of the region to access high quality, high speed connectivity.”

“Direct fiber optic connectivity to major cities will benefit every area of Virginia we pass through, but perhaps none more so than Southwest Virginia as it takes its place as an ideal location for data centers; no hurricanes, extremely rare earthquakes, electrically diverse power grids, and with this diverse long-distance fiber optic construction, it will be even more attractive,” he added.