Amy Klobuchar speaks at SXSW

High-speed internet in every US home by 2022, Klobuchar promises

Image credit: REUTERS/Sergio Flores

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar has announced that if elected as President in the 2020 US election, she would roll out a $1tn infrastructure package, including high-speed internet access for every home by 2022.

Klobuchar is one among a packed crowd of contenders for the Democratic candidate to take on President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. She has been pitched as a moderate liberal candidate with a pragmatic, proactive and well-informed approach to policymaking.

In a bid to stand out from other contenders and woo Americans, she has laid out her plans for an enormous infrastructure investment package. Her campaign has labelled the plan as a “concrete, commonsense” proposal, in comparison with Trump’s own proposals for a $1tn (£766bn) infrastructure investment. This cornerstone of his 2016 presidential campaign has not come to fruition and was described as a “mirage” and lacking in detail.

“Amy’s infrastructure plan will be her top budget priority and she will work to get it done during the first year of her presidency,” her campaign announced in a blog post.

Her proposals – which she hopes will help the country withstand some of the now-unavoidable effects of climate change – include repairing and replacing roads, highways and bridges; building flood protection; modernising airports and seaports; expanding public transport infrastructure; rebuilding schools; investing in a clean water system, and building “Climate Smart and Green infrastructure” to transform the economy into one which depends on clean energy, as opposed to oil.

Klobuchar has also said that she will work to ensure that every household is connected to the internet by 2022.

“Amy’s plan will help close the urban-rural divide by creating accurate broadband maps to identify areas that lack adequate access, focus on bringing high-speed internet infrastructure to areas most in need, and provide greater incentives for existing providers to use funds to upgrade their networks to cover unserved and underserved areas,” her campaign wrote. Klobuchar has also said that she will push for “dig once” policies, which will encourage ISPs to coordinate the rollout of internet infrastructure with the paving of federally funded roads.

“Broadband creates jobs, opens new economic opportunities and allows America to compete and succeed in an increasingly digital world.”

She proposes putting more than $650bn (£494bn) in federal funding for the ambitious project, as well as leveraging private funds at state-level, restoring the Obama administration’s ‘Build America Bonds’ as well as creating ‘Clean Energy’ bonds, and adjusting rates of corporate tax from 21 per cent to 25 per cent. She would also close corporate tax loopholes which encourage US companies to move operations abroad. The proposal to raise corporate tax to 25 per cent (still 10 per cent lower than before Trump’s tax overhaul) could be seen as another direct challenge to the White House.

Earlier in March, Klobuchar was one of a small bipartisan group of Senators introducing legislation which would require the Federal Communications Commission to seek feedback on how to improve the accuracy of its broadband coverage maps, which at present are drawn up using data from industry. This data has been criticised as erroneous.

Earlier this year, Elizabeth Warren – a fellow Democratic senator running for her party's nomination – attracted support for her proposals to break up the world’s largest technology companies in order to allow real competition in the sector. Klobuchar has stated that she would investigate whether breaking up these companies was the right solution and proposed that profit made from users’ data should be heavily taxed.

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