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Sewell says infrastructure, budget appropriations will help Hale and other Black Belt communities thrive


U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell
visited Hale County for a
town hall meeting on Thursday morning, March 24.
Among the topics she discussed at the “Congress in
your Community” tour was
infrastructure spending for
local governments.
Sewell said of infrastructure funding for communities like Hale County, “You
all need direct resources to
not just survive, but thrive.”
From the recent American Rescue funds, Sewell
said, Hale County received
$2.84 million in total, with
the city of Greensboro receiving $496,000 of that.
The State of Alabama received approximately $2
billion. Sewell noted that
she was the only congressional vote from Alabama
to approve the American
Rescue Plan when it passed
the House of Representatives.
“We have to be good
stewards of the resources
that we get,” Sewell said of
the federal funding. She
said the second wave of relief funding from the American Rescue Plan is set to be
distributed in May.
Sewell also discussed the
Infrastructure Investment &
Jobs Act, which is a multifaceted plan to address various infrastructure issues
facing Americans. Infrastructure needs are felt particularly in places like the
Black Belt, she said.
“The Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act addresses deferred
maintenance,” Sewell said
of the legislation. Many
communities like Hale
County, she said, had put
off maintenance and construction of roads and
bridges for too long due to
lack of funding. She said
she hoped the new infrastructure budget would
allow rural communities to
rebuild and improve their
Another aspect of the infrastructure plan Sewell
touted was accessibility to
broadband internet. The act
allocates $100 million to the
expansion of broadband
throughout the state. The
Alabama Dept. of Economic and Community Affairs will administer and
distribute the funding.
Sewell talked about areas in
Alabama still without any
type of broadband connectivity.
“A large part of that is in
the Black Belt,” Sewell
said, adding, “We have to
prioritize places that don’t
have broadband first” when
distributing the funding.
Sewell said the act budgets $5.2 billion to go towards roads and bridges in
the state. Another focus of
the plan is on water and
sewage, securing sanitation
for many communities that
still have no proper wastewater disposal.

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