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Matter of Life and Tech: An open letter to Santa

In the spirit of the season, I scrolled through the 1,039 page federal infrastructure bill (H.R.3684 – Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) to build a wishlist for the Upstate. I’m even willing to share with all of South Carolina; I’m nice like that.

I found some tech-related goodies that haven’t received much media attention, but I’d be willing to stay on my best behavior to see here at home.

Dear Santa/Congress:

Could we get a few thousand miles of that “cool pavement” from Section 11406, the Healthy Streets Program? You know we love to drive. And, we’re replacing a lot of green spaces with lively live-work, shop-work and work-work developments. And, it’s hot down here. So, heat-reflecting pavement to reduce urban hot spots would be awesome.

I’m also crossing my fingers that we get to participate in the Energy Cyber Sense Program. We have tons of folks would be great at testing the cybersecurity of products and technologies intended for use in the energy sector and keeping tabs on the vulnerabilities.

How about a little Section 40121? Enhancing grid security through public-private partnerships (our favorite triple-p word) sounds good.

As for the Digital Equity Act of 2021 that’s in the bill, we’ve got all your targets: veterans, aging, incarcerated and rural folks, friends and neighbors with disabilities, language barriers, and low literacy levels.

We could also stuff our stockings with sections 40341 and 40342 — solar power infrastructure and clean energy demonstrations meant for current and former mining sites.

And, look, not to brag, but if you’re gonna give $2 million a piece to establish model programs that support implementation of smart manufacturing technologies, I don’t know why you’d look anywhere else. This would go great with some advanced and additive manufacturing research pilots from Section 13005.

You know we deserve it. Surely you’ve heard our manufacturing rebirth story and checked it once or twice by now.

Yours Truly,


This article originally appeared in Upstate Business Journal in December 2021.


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