WASHINGTON, March 29, 2017 - Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) said he expects this year's coming infrastructure legislation to stress greater cooperation between the public and private sectors in supporting the estimated $1 trillion cost.
"Any infrastructure bill that comes forward - it's going to have to be a public-private partnership," said Rep. Schrader. "We're trying to be good stewards of your tax dollars here in Washington D.C."
Rep. Schrader comments came during a Q&A with American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka at ACA's 24th Washington, D.C., Summit. Rep. Schrader was introduced by Andrew Petersen, Vice President of External Affairs and corporate communications at TDS, which a major broadband provider in Bend, Ore.
Rep. Schrader, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said he met recently with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a group of business-friendly Democrats. "[Mnuchin] was pretty clear that out of that $1 trillion the President had been talking about that several hundred million might be public, and we're going to try and leverage that with other resources."
He added that light-handed regulation could stretch investment dollars. "I think [Mnuchin] made an excellent point. It's not always about more money," Rep. Schrader said. "I've heard from a lot of my cable companies and other industries, ‘Gosh, if we just didn't have this layer or that layer of regulation, we could be more flexible and get our money to go a little further that it is able to do right now."
Last May, Rep. Schrader led dozens of House lawmakers in signing a bipartisan letter opposing FCC Chairman Wheeler's proposed FCC set-top box mandates. The letter focused specifically on the crippling costs the mandates would impose on smaller communities and their access to quality television, and the threat to innovation in a market that was already thriving with extensive innovation and choice.
"When these issues come to us from my local folks back home - Canby Telecom, Wave [Broadband], you name it - you pay attention because they are integral to how people get information," Rep. Schrader.
Regarding cooperation with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Rep. Schrader anticipates a responsive relationship. "I've reached out to members of the Commission already. I've had conversions with them trying to assess what they are trying to do and let them know they have a partner in me and ... other members of the [Energy & Commerce] Committee."
He added, "We look forward to engaging them in hopefully a very productive dialogue. "I hope [ACA members] play into that. Make sure we are working closely with you because you are at the heart of the communications network we enjoy today."
The ACA Summit is a special event where small and mid-sized cable operators serving hometown America connect with the leading lawmakers and regulators as well as media representatives on the communications policy beat in Washington, D.C. This year's summit coincides with the start of a new Congress and a new President in the White House focused on passing legislation designed to reduce regulatory burdens on communications providers and other businesses.
Please visit the ACA Summit 2017 website by clicking here: ACA Summit. The event is taking place at the Grand Hyatt, 1000 H Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20001. This year's Summit is ACA's 24th annual "fly-in" to Washington with its members and, as such, will use the hashtag #Summit24 for all social media about the event.
ACA's more than 750 independent cable operators play a unique role in providing best-in-class communications services to millions of consumers, many living and working in rural areas of the country. Created in the early 1990s, the ACA Summit gives independent cable operators a vehicle for framing the diverse and complex issues in their own words during dozens of meetings on Capitol Hill and with regulators at the FCC.
About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing nearly 750 smaller and medium-sized, independent cable companies who provide broadband services for nearly 7 million cable subscribers primarily located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. Through active participation in the regulatory and legislative process in Washington, D.C., ACA's members work together to advance the interests of their customers and ensure the future competitiveness and viability of their business. For more information, visit http://www.americancable.org/
Please use the information below to get in touch with the American Cable Association.