Empower Rural Iowa Task Force Meetings Continue
October 11, 2018
This week, ABI members and staff traveled the state to learn more about opportunities to invest and revitalize rural Iowa. Monday, the Connecting Rural Iowa Task Force met to discuss rural broadband and to hear from speakers about different ideas and initiatives that could help spur investment in this critical infrastructure, including the state broadband grant program and a new federal E-connectivity program, which is scheduled to be rolled out in the near future. A legislative panel and task force members also discussed obstacles and opportunities when it comes to full and sustainable funding of rural broadband. Brad Hartkopf of the ABI public policy team attended the daylong meeting and had the opportunity to speak with Sens. Kinney and Shipley.
On Wednesday, the Investing in Rural Iowa Task Force met in Maquoketa. ABI Director, Public Policy Jessica Hyland attended the meeting, which focused on recommendations for innovative housing solutions. Topics discussed included conducting housing needs assessments, ensuring there are skilled workers in building trades and reviewing the workforce housing tax credit, as there is a wait list between three to six years depending on the community size. Hyland also had the opportunity to network with legislators and task force members during the meeting. The Growing Rural Iowa Task Force will meet Friday in Pella. Recommendations are expected in early November.