Federal, state, local and tribal leaders gathered in the village of Los Ranchos on Wednesday night to celebrate $57 million in funding for broadband investments in the state through the ReConnect program and $34 million from USDA Rural Development grants.
Representative Melanie Stansbury was present at the event and said the funding secured for high-speed internet access will help transform the state.
“New Mexico has always been underinvested in broadband and we are thrilled to celebrate the huge amount of money coming into New Mexico for broadband.”
In addition to the funding already mentioned, Stansbury said it expects an additional $150 million to flow into the state for broadband infrastructure that will specifically target tribal communities.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Rural Development Undersecretary Xochitl Torrez Small returned to New Mexico to attend this press conference and said it was important that New Mexicoers benefit of this opportunity to reshape the state with these federal funds.
“It paves the way for this unprecedented opportunity that we have in terms of investments.”
New Mexico State Infrastructure Advisor Martin Chávez said the influx of money can make a significant difference for future generations.
“That’s the reward this generation is going to have, when future generations say, ‘You changed our lives.’
Many tribal representatives were present at this event, including Santa Ana Pueblo Governor Joseph Sanchez, who spoke about the impact of water and broadband infrastructure on the pueblo.
“Thank you for including Indian Country in these key pieces of legislation. Sometimes we get left out of a lot of laws. I’m glad we’ve been included in a lot more as we move forward.
Audience members were able to engage with these public leaders after the oral portion ended, to share the needs of their communities.