Rep. Lasinski Introduces Bill to Expand Broadband Access

Lack of high-speed internet availability spurs legislation
Wednesday, February 8, 2017

LANSING — State Rep. Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Township) introduced a bill yesterday to amend the Michigan Public Improvements Act to allow townships to use special assessments to fund broadband and communications projects in their areas that still need high-speed internet.

“I hear from constituents each day that they are unable to complete everyday tasks due to their lack of broadband,” said Lasinski. “Some municipalities in my district are now taking it upon themselves to explore other avenues to address this problem, which could potentially be solved by allowing special assessments to help fund broadband infrastructure.”

Lasinski’s bill, House Bill 4162, would add the construction, improvement and maintenance of communications infrastructure, including broadband and high-speed internet, to the list of public improvements for which townships may use special assessment districts. Michigan’s current statute does not allow this, but changing the statute could help residents who still need broadband service and whose property values would benefit from it.

“Enabling townships to help connect residents to more affordable, reliable high-speed internet can allow entrepreneurs to develop their home-based businesses, students to complete their schoolwork at home, property values for homeowners to increase and seniors to comfortably age in place,” said Lasinski. “I am hopeful this bill will be passed to promote the economic benefits of broadband and improve quality of life for hundreds of thousands of Michiganders.”

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