Shaheen Leads Bipartisan, Bicameral Group of Lawmakers in Calling for Dedicated Funding for Northern Border Regional Commission in COVID-19 Relief Legislation
**In Letter, Shaheen and Group of Lawmakers Note Agency’s Role in Spurring Economic Growth in Northern Communities & Urge Dedicated Funding to Help COVID-19 Recovery Efforts**
(Washington, DC) – U.S Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, led a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers representing New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont and New York in a letter to Congressional leadership calling for the inclusion of dedicated funding for the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) in upcoming COVID-19 relief legislation. U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) also signed the letter.
The NBRC is a federal-state partnership that provides economic and infrastructure development assistance to 60 rural counties in New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and Maine. Since its creation, the agency has invested more than $55 million in 248 projects across the four states that have helped to create jobs, reduce poverty and unemployment and limit outmigration in Northern Forest communities.
“Investments from the NBRC have significantly improved the infrastructure and quality of life in rural parts of our states, spurring economic growth, job creation and community development,” the Lawmakers wrote. “Congress should provide additional funding to expand the capacity of this important program to help communities cope with and recover from this public health emergency.”
The letter continued by highlighting the challenges northern communities face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and underscored the need for dedicated funding for the partnership, writing, “Additional resources will be important to ensuring the Commission can help communities fund and complete existing projects, respond to new challenges and build for a post-pandemic economy, as well as leverage existing federal and community partnerships. Given this need, we respectfully request that you include dedicated funding for the NBRC in any future relief package.”
The letter goes on to note that the Commission’s expertise in economic and infrastructure development assistance is uniquely tailored to meet the needs of the Northern Forest region, particularly concerning access to broadband. “As our constituents transition to remote learning, teleworking and online medical appointments, access to reliable and affordable broadband is a necessity,” the Lawmakers wrote. “NBRC is well positioned to deploy additional funding to help communities conduct broadband planning, capacity building and feasibility studies, as well as acquire equipment that can be deployed quickly to connect communities to the internet.”
The letter can be read in full here.