Governor Kristi Noem’s weekly propaganda column touts her promotion of broadband to support “our rural way of life”:
When I was first elected, I pledged to connect every corner of South Dakota to high-speed broadband, but it looked like this would take 10 years to accomplish. Because of South Dakota’s tremendous tax revenues, we managed to fully fund our broadband program in just a couple years. We have connected thousands of South Dakotans to high-speed internet. Families in small towns now can get Wi-Fi access right at home. Farmers can get internet to monitor various aspects of their operations [Gov. Kristi Noem, weekly propaganda column, 2022.09.23].
Those “tremendous tax revenues” have accrued thanks to the federal government’s bail-out of an economy that would have tanked amidst coronavirus. And we’re actually using President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act funds to cover the state’s match for the broadband money we’re getting from President Biden’s big infrastructure bill:
In 2021, the state appropriated $75 million in general funds and $25 million in federal coronavirus relief funds toward rural broadband expansion grants. In 2022, state legislators passed Senate Bill 55, which appropriated $50 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to broadband expansion. This money will allow the state to recover and replace some of the general funds appropriated for broadband in 2021. The GOED notes the state intends to use half of these ARPA funds as match dollars required for broadband funding the state will receive through the recently passed federal infrastructure bill [Heidi Kolbeck-Urlacher, “South Dakota Broadband Resource Guide,” Center for Rural Affairs, June 2022, p. 12].
Governor Noem won’t say one good word about President Biden’s American Rescue Plan and his infrastructure bill. But without those big Biden plans, Noem wouldn’t have nearly as much broadband to brag about.
Related Reading: On Thursday, the USDA announced another $502 million in loans and grants to 32 high-speed Internet projects in 20 states, brought to rural America by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.