State Rep. Jack Cera’s (D-Bellaire) bipartisan bill with Rep. Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) to expand high-speed internet access in Ohio’s rural communities received bipartisan support today from the House Finance Committee. The legislation, House Bill 378, would better connect people and businesses, driving growth and creating jobs in rural communities across the state.
“People and businesses in our part of the state deserve the same economic opportunities other communities have, and that starts with reliable, modern infrastructure,” said Cera.
HB 378 would appropriate $100 million over the next two years from the proceeds of bonds issued to support Ohio’s Third Frontier Program. Local communities, businesses, nonprofits and co-ops would all be eligible to participate in the grant program, which would be administered by the Ohio Development Services Agency.
“Staying competitive, creating jobs and growing our economy comes from public-private partnerships like this, where our communities in Eastern Ohio aren’t priced out of taking the first step,” Cera added.
Cera is working with Republican leadership to determine the soonest date the bill could receive a full vote of the House before heading to the Ohio Senate.