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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce


Press Release

Commerce Department Invests in High Speed Communications Network in Cedar Rapids

WASHINGTON - U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced a $2.4 million U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to the city of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to help build a high-speed, fiber-optic, redundant Joint Communications Network to improve 24/7 Emergency Management Services.

"Protecting communities from the economic impact of severe weather events like the flooding that occurred in Cedar Rapids in 2008 is critical," Locke said. "This EDA grant will make vital improvements to the Cedar Rapids communications network to help the region mitigate the human and economic impact of future disaster events."

"Dependable communication and communication services are essential to getting through natural disasters with the least amount of damage," said U.S. Representative Dave Loebsack. "This funding will help first responders coordinate their response through interoperable and reliable communications networks. It will also help emergency management officials keep in contact in the event of disasters, enabling them to better protect and serve. This funding is another step in our effort to recover from the Floods of 2008 and to rebuild a stronger, better community." Since the 2008 floods, EDA has invested more than $100 million in Iowa to advance rebuilding efforts across the state.

In April, Locke visited Iowa City to announce $30 million in EDA grants to, among other things, work to relocate out of the floodplain a water treatment facility in Columbus Junction that is vital to business growth and retention and make roadway infrastructure improvements in Iowa City to make certain that major transportation and supply chain routes remain open during future flood events. That same month, EDA announced the largest single investment the agency has ever made - $35 million to the city of Cedar Rapids to assist with the construction of the new downtown events center. The events center will be a catalyst for bringing more people and businesses into the center of the city, which in turn will create more demand for residential development, retail establishments and services.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov): This year, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) marks 45 years of public service, with a mission of leading the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing American regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. EDA is an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce that partners with distressed communities throughout the United States to foster job creation, collaboration and innovation.