WASHINGTON, D.C. – Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman
Barbara A. Mikulski and
Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (both D-Md.) announced the Senate has passed the fiscal year 2008 CJS spending bill, which includes a $4 million federal investment in the ongoing effort to bring broadband network capability to the Eastern Shore.- our space, high tech, health care and higher education facilities need broadband – so do our poultry producers, construction companies and our small businesses. That’s why I have worked so hard to provide a federal investment to help build a broadband superhighway. I will keep fighting for the resources to keep the Shore competitive."
"Bringing broadband to the Eastern Shore means economic development, job growth and innovation whether you are a small business, a school, a major employer or a NASA Center," said Senator Mikulski. "Forty years ago, interstate highways were crucial for economic growth in our rural areas, now it’s the information superhighway. The Eastern Shore is changing
"I am extremely pleased that this bill contains additional funding to bring Broadband capabilities to the Eastern Shore," said Senator Cardin. "It will help to pave the way for high-tech business and employment opportunities for residents of the Eastern Shore."
As the then-senior Democrat on the CJS Subcommittee, Senator Mikulski secured a $2 million down payment for the broadband construction as part of the 2006 spending bill. This, leveraged with state and private funding, is responsible for the first phase of the project. This first phase has just recently been completed, linking Wallops Island to Salisbury University. Despite efforts to include an additional $4 million in the 2007 spending bill to build the next phase of the information superhighway, the bill was not brought up for a final vote by the 109th Congress.
This network will be a major source of future economic development, spurring job creation and innovation on the Shore. It will connect NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility, schools, universities, medical centers, businesses and consumers along the entire Shore. When completed, the broadband network will cover the entire Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland.
In the next step of the legislative process, the House and Senate will meet in Conference Committee to work out the differences between the two versions of the bill. The Conference report will then be voted on by both Houses of Congress. Once passed by the House and Senate, the spending bill will go to the President for his signature.