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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $7.7 Million in American Rescue Plan Funds for Water Infrastructure Upgrades and High-Speed Internet Development in West Virginia

Award is Part of the Department of Commerce’s $300 million Coal Communities Commitment

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding $7.7 million in American Rescue Plan grants to support West Virginia as it recovers from the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. This grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan and EDA’s $300 million Coal Communities Commitment.

The EDA investments announced today are:

  • McDowell County Public Service District, Welch, West Virginia, will receive a $6.5 million grant for water infrastructure upgrades in support of local businesses. The project will be matched with $1.6 million in state funds and is expected to create 85 jobs, retain 40 jobs and generate $4 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.
  • Regional Optimal Communications, Inc., Princeton, West Virginia, will receive a $1.2 million grant for a statewide high-speed internet implementation development plan. The project will be matched with $300,000 in Appalachian Regional Commission funds and will create 83 jobs, retain 616 jobs, and generate $10.4 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.

“President Biden is committed to providing communities with the resources they need to recover from the pandemic and build a better America in the process,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “These EDA investments will provide for water infrastructure upgrades and the development of a high-speed internet implementation plan in support of job creation and business development.”

“The Economic Development Administration is dedicated to working with communities to support their locally-driven strategies to recover and rebuild from the pandemic,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “The projects announced today will provide critical infrastructure upgrades and access to high-speed internet services, supporting job growth and economic diversity in West Virginia.”

“This $7.7 million in grant funding will be a great help to these southern West Virginia communities in so many ways,” said Governor Jim Justice. “Between much-needed water system improvements and broadband expansion, these projects will make everyday life better for countless West Virginians, while also creating more than 160 new jobs and retaining hundreds more in the process. I can never thank the EDA enough for their continued commitment to our great state.”

“Investing in our local communities creates good-paying jobs and spurs economic opportunity, and today’s announcement is great news for McDowell and Mercer counties and the entire region,” said Senator Joe Manchin. “The EDA continues to be a strong partner for West Virginia, and these investments will provide critical upgrades to water infrastructure and expand high-speed broadband access. I look forward to seeing the positive impacts of this funding and as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I will continue advocating for resources to support economic development across the Mountain State.”

This project is funded under EDA’s American Rescue Plan Economic Adjustment Assistance program, which makes $500 million in Economic Adjustment Assistance grants available to American communities. The Economic Adjustment Assistance program is EDA’s most flexible program, and grants made under this program will help hundreds of communities across the nation plan, build, innovate, and put people back to work through construction or non-construction projects designed to meet local needs.

EDA’s Coal Communities Commitment allocates $300 million of EDA’s $3 billion American Rescue Plan appropriation to support coal communities as they recover from the pandemic and to help them create new jobs and opportunities, including through the creation or expansion of a new industry sector. Specifically, EDA has dedicated $100 million of its Build Back Better Regional Challenge funds and $200 million of its Economic Adjustment Assistance funds to directly support coal communities.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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