U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers says the federal government should have a role in spreading high-speed Internet access to the region's struggling coalfields.
The Kentucky Republican said Wednesday that the spending bill passed by Congress last week included $10 million to expand broadband access to distressed areas of central Appalachia.
Rogers said he hopes that's the start of federal investments for broadband access in hard-hit coal regions. As chairman of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, Rogers will have an influential voice in that debate.
Rogers was at the Kentucky Capitol to support a plan outlined by Gov. Steve Beshear in his budget speech to lawmakers Tuesday night. Beshear is proposing a $100 million project to expand broadband access in Kentucky.
The proposal would be supported by $60 million in state bonds.