U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $880,640 in CARES Act Recovery Assistance to Boost Broadband Capacity in West Central Colorado
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $880,640 CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to the Region 10 League for Economic Assistance and Planning, Montrose, Colorado, to improve access to affordable, reliable, and abundant internet service in West Central Colorado. This EDA grant, to be matched with $220,160 in local investment, is expected to create 100 jobs, retain 100 jobs, and generate $2.5 million in private investment.
“The Economic Development Administration is committed to helping communities across the nation implement strategies to mitigate economic hardships brought on by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Dennis Alvord, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This EDA investment will build a resilient, redundant network for the Western Slope of Colorado, reducing broadband transport costs and providing more affordable and reliable internet service to the area.”
“As we near the end of this pandemic and mount the Colorado comeback, we know that reliable internet access will be critical to ensuring all of our communities can build back stronger, especially those in rural Colorado,” said Governor Jared Polis. “Last year, we were proud to work with bipartisan members of the legislature to provide much needed funding to support broadband access for Colorado students, teachers, and businesses. Now, we are thrilled by these efforts to build on that momentum with the extension of the Region 10 middle-mile broadband network from Grand Junction to Glenwood Springs.”
“As I traveled Colorado this past year, I heard time and again from constituents about the critical role broadband plays in everyday life,” said Senator Michael Bennet. “This investment will support Western Colorado’s efforts to expand broadband access and help families learn, work, access health care, and connect with friends and family. Broadband is essential to modern American life, and I’ll continue fighting for increased investment in affordable, high-speed broadband infrastructure.” “Reliable and affordable internet is not a luxury for rural communities -- it's a necessity,” said Senator John Hickenlooper. “Increasing access to broadband will help create jobs, attract development, and lay the groundwork for a thriving Western Slope economy.”
This project was made possible by Region 10 League for Economic Assistance and Planning’s regional planning efforts, which EDA funds to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment, and create jobs.
This project is funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law 116-136 PDF), which provided EDA with $1.5 billion for economic assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau’s flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) (PDF) program, provides a wide-range of financial assistance to eligible communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
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 makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.