CHARLESTON, WV –
Gov. Jim Justice announced today that West Virginia has secured a combined total of $150,000 in federal grant funding that will be used to improve broadband and high-speed internet connectivity in Jefferson and Grant counties.
“I’m just so incredibly happy that we’ve been able to give out millions and millions of dollars for these kinds of projects all across the state,” Gov. Justice said. “We want to connect West Virginia like never before to high-speed internet opportunities that will allow us to bring in new people and businesses like you can’t possibly imagine and allow the positive momentum that we’ve built, boosting the economy, to continue.”
These funds are just a piece of $13.1 million in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) dollars that have been dedicated for various broadband and infrastructure projects throughout West Virginia this year by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The $150,000 that will be distributed within Jefferson and Grant counties is the combined total of two separate grants, with each county receiving single awards in the amount of $75,000.
Jefferson County’s $75,000 grant will be used to conduct a county-wide assessment to determine the region’s existing broadband-level service. County leaders also plan to use the funds to develop strategies on how to implement or improve affordable high-speed internet accessibility in various locations.
Considering Jefferson County’s proximity to more populated areas like Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and northern Virginia, the goal of the assessment and strategy development is to provide improved connectivity for telecommuters who may wish to work and reside in West Virginia.
Overall, this project aims to help improve connectivity to more than 20,000 households and businesses in Jefferson County.
Grant County’s $75,000 grant, similarly, will be used to conduct a feasibility study for high-speed internet capability for the entire county as well as to provide key strategies for both short-term and long-term planning as broadband is established in the region.
As a border county with the state of Maryland and its proximity to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Grant County leaders aim to use this grant to set up a framework to build robust broadband solutions to attract new businesses and visitors.
Overall, this project aims to help improve connectivity to more than 4,100 households and businesses in Grant County
“These projects will help thousands upon thousands of hard-working West Virginians to give them another leg-up toward the jobs of the future,” Gov. Justice said. “I truly envision the next great technology company being started right here in West Virginia thanks to these incredible opportunities that have been a long time coming for our people.”
A total of 19 different communities throughout West Virginia have been awarded similar CDBG grants for this year, combining for $13.1 million in federal funding. Gov. Justice has announced all of these awardees over the past month.
Of that federal funding, $2.4 million is going toward broadband projects like the ones in Jefferson and Grant counties. The remaining $10.7 million is going toward water system and wastewater treatment system improvements in various communities across the state.