HARRISBURG – Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) was named the Senate Republican Caucus’ representative to sit on the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA), which was created under the recently approved Act 96 of 2021.
Phillips-Hill says it is humbling to be one of five members with veto power in how a massive influx of taxpayer dollars aimed at closing the digital divide will be spent across the Commonwealth.
“We have an obligation to assure that these taxpayer dollars are used to address the problem of high-speed internet connectivity in unserved and underserved areas,” she said. “We worked through the legislation establishing this authority in a bipartisan manner. I believe we can find solutions to close our digital divide in the same spirit with keeping a taxpayer-focused approach to effectively and efficiently using every resource to connect more Pennsylvanians to high-speed internet.”
The PBDA will be governed by 11 members, including Phillips-Hill. Only Phillips-Hill and representatives from the Senate Democratic Caucus, House Republican Caucus, House Democratic Caucus and the governor’s office have veto power. The PBDA will establish a database to monitor all broadband deployment across the state. The authority will evaluate any entity applying for broadband funding by ensuring applicants have technical, managerial and financial expertise to design, build and operate high-speed service infrastructure.
Applicants will be denied if they have defaulted on prior projects or have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony in the last 10 years due to their past performance.
The Auditor General will have oversight to monitor all taxpayer dollars spent through the PBDA.
The legislature unanimously approved House Bill 2071 after months of negotiation between Republicans and Democrats in the General Assembly and the governor’s office. The compromise law established the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority, which was created to serve as a single point-of contact for the Commonwealth to drive out federal taxpayer dollars to eligible projects to improve access to high-speed internet in unserved and underserved communities. (More info here)
You can view Phillips-Hill’s appointment letter here.