WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, Kweisi Mfume, Anthony G. Brown, Jamie B. Raskin, and David Trone (all D-Md.) announced $966,659 in federal funding to help develop Maryland’s digital equity plan, which will increase affordable access to high-speed internet and close the digital divide. The State Digital Equity Planning Grant is awarded to the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development to bolster its digital equity plan through new staff recruitment, increased outreach initiatives, and data collection and analysis. The lawmakers supported the creation of the grant program as a provision of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to ensure that all communities can access and use affordable, reliable high-speed internet to meet their needs and improve their lives.
“Far too many of our communities still lack reliable and affordable internet connectivity. That’s why we fought to pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and bolster initiatives, like the Digital Equity Program, that will help bring broadband access to all Marylanders. This funding is critical for communities that struggle with connectivity, getting us closer to narrowing the digital divide and furthering the mission of equitable access to affordable high-speed internet. We will keep working to strengthen the state’s broadband infrastructure and ensure no community is left behind,” said the lawmakers.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a once-in-a-generation investment in American infrastructure that will provide more than $7 billion in federal funding directly to Maryland over five years to expand broadband internet; rebuild roads and bridges; and strengthen water infrastructure, climate resilience, and more. The lawmakers worked to pass this law to help bring our nation’s infrastructure to the 21st century – closing the digital divide, creating good jobs, growing the economy, enhancing U.S. competitiveness in the world, and making our transportation system more sustainable and equitable.