Infrastructure Bill That Includes $15B in NG 9-1-1 Funding Introduced into House
Thursday, March 11, 2021 | Comments

The 32 Democratic members of the Energy and Commerce Committee today introduced the Leading Infrastructure For Tomorrow’s America Act (LIFT America Act) which includes $15 billion in next-generation 9-1-1 (NG 9-1-1) funding. The legislation invests more than $312 billion in clean energy, energy efficiency, drinking water, broadband, and health care infrastructure.

“As our nation combats COVID-19 and a severe economic downturn, the LIFT America Act fulfills President Biden’s promise to build back better,” Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. said. “Over the last year, we’ve seen the devastating results of inaction: major power outages, water shortages, health care facilities stretched to the limit, and communities left behind due to the digital divide. By modernizing our infrastructure, we have an opportunity to revitalize our economy, create millions of new jobs, combat climate change and ensure no community is left behind.”

The bill, if passed by the House and Senate, would allocate $15 billion in grants for the deployment and implementation of NG 9-1-1 services across the country to protect American lives through more accessible, interoperable, effective and resilient 9-1-1 services that allow callers to send text messages, images or videos to 9-1-1 in times of emergency.

The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International noted that the NG 9-1-1 portion of the bill also includes other key provisions, including protecting and building upon existing investments in NG 9-1-1, promoting interoperability, preserving state and local control, providing significant resources for cybersecurity, establishing a mechanism for ongoing public-safety input for the grant program and achieving NG 9-1-1 capabilities for emergency communications centers nationwide.

“APCO wishes to sincerely thank Representatives Pallone and Eshoo and their staff for being strong allies of the public-safety community and for their work in introducing this much-needed legislation that will greatly benefit 9-1-1 professionals and the public they serve,” said APCO Executive Director and CEO Derek Poarch. “We look forward to working with all members of Congress to build support and achieve passage of this bill, which is so critical to modernizing the nation’s emergency communications infrastructure.”

The National Emergency Number Association (NENA) expressed concern about some of the provisions in the bill. The association noted that the introduced bill includes elements that it said could “complicate and delay NG 9-1-1 deployments, waste scarce federal resources and shift authority over 9-1-1 from states and localities to the federal government.”

“The infrastructure bill is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix the cracks in the foundation of all public safety response: America’s 9-1-1 systems,” said NENA CEO Brian Fontes. “It is absolutely essential that we get it right. But unfortunately, the language introduced today could strand already-substantial state investments in NG 9-1-1 deployments and create cybersecurity risks for state, local and tribal governments.”

NENA asked congressional leaders to build on the widely supported language of the Next Generation 9-1-1 Act of 2019, a bipartisan bill that enjoyed the backing of more than 17,000 local 9-1-1 administrators and frontline dispatchers, as well as state 9-1-1 administrators and industry leader, it said.

“There is already widespread agreement in the 9-1-1 community on the standards and technologies needed to make next-generation 9-1-1 a reality in every community within this decade,” Fontes said. “What we need now is a major federal commitment and a workable policy framework to get it done. NENA is eager to work with Congress and the Biden administration to adopt workable solutions to our 9-1-1 infrastructure problems. Together we can deliver high-performing 9-1-1 service to all Americans, no matter where they live, work, or travel.

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