Manchin announces $7.6 million US bailout for West Virginia water infrastructure and broadband expansion

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced $7,680,000 from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) through the Economic Development Administration (EDA) for two projects in West Virginia. The funding will support water infrastructure upgrades to strengthen local businesses in McDowell County and the design of a statewide broadband implementation plan through Regional Optical Communications, a consortium of counties led by the Princeton-based Regions 1 and 4 Planning and Development Councils. The awards are part of EDA’s Coal Communities Commitment (CCC) program, which supports coal communities as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and create new jobs and opportunities.

“Investing in our local communities creates well-paying jobs and boosts economic opportunity, and today’s announcement is great news for McDowell and Mercer counties and the entire region,” said Senator Manchin. “EDA continues to be a strong partner for West Virginia, and these investments will provide critical water infrastructure upgrades 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 to advocate for resources to support economic development in Mountain State.

“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,” Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo said. “These EDA investments will upgrade water infrastructure and develop a broadband implementation plan to support job creation and business development.”

“The Economic Development Administration is committed to working with communities to support their local strategies for recovery and reconstruction after 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.”

Individual awards listed below:

  • $6,480,000– McDowell County Utility District, Welch, West Virginia
    • This project will be backed by $1.6 million in public funds and is expected to create 85 jobs, maintain 40 jobs and generate $4 million in private investment, according to beneficiary estimates.
    • This award funds Phase III of the Elkhorn Water Project to provide quality, reliable drinking water and fire protection services to approximately 50 businesses, including bed and breakfasts and private campgrounds in Welch, NL. West Virginia. These customers currently have no public sewage system and the use of an on-site sewage disposal system is highly contaminated and unsafe for local businesses.
  • $1,200,000– Regional Optimal Communications, Princeton, West Virginia
    • This project will be matched with $300,000 in other federal funds and will create 83 jobs, maintain 616 jobs and generate $10.4 million in private investment, according to recipient estimates.
    • This award supports the completion of a statewide roadmap for implementing affordable broadband initiatives throughout West Virginia, including administrative services and contract labor.

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