U.S. Sen. Angus King. Credit: Gabor Degre

A Maine senator said a plan to boost innovation and job growth in rural areas by providing money for broadband access would benefit his state, much of which is forested and sparsely populated.

Independent Sen. Angus King said he’s getting behind the Revitalizing Underdeveloped Rural Areas and Lands Act, which is also called the RURAL Act. The proposal is supported by Republicans and Democrats and it would ensure access to government grants and assistance for tax-exempt electrical cooperatives.

King and other supporters say the current tax code means acceptance of a government grant could put such a cooperative’s tax-exempt status in danger. He said the change would benefit communities in rural Maine that need “accessible high-speed broadband and reliable grid infrastructure in order to thrive economically, educationally, and socially.”