June 8, 2022
CHARLESTON, WV - West Virginia is one of four states where broadband expansion plans were approved for funding by the federal government’s COVID-19 relief program.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin and representatives of the White House and the U.S. Treasury Department announced Monday during a virtual briefing that West Virginia, Virginia, New Hampshire and Louisiana are the first states to have their plans approved for the $1.2 trillion American Rescue Plan Act’s Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund.
“When you think about reliable, affordable, dependable, broadband access, it’s critical, absolutely critical, for West Virginians and anybody in America to do their jobs, complete their homework, keep up with their healthcare appointments and to compete in a 21st century economy,” Manchin, D-W.Va., said.
Gene Sperling, the White House American Rescue Plan Coordinator, and Treasury Chief Recovery Officer Jacob Leibenluft were joined on a Zoom call Monday afternoon to announce the plan approvals along with several senators including Manchin.
“The awards today, the first of many to be awarded in the months to come, means that over a half a billion dollars will be dispersed to Virginia, New Hampshire, West Virginia, and Louisiana, to connect hundreds of thousands of Americans and small businesses to high-speed internet,” Sperling said.
“We cannot have equal economic and educational opportunity unless all Americans and all regions, from urban to rural America, have access to high speed, affordable internet service, not only in their home, not only in their libraries, not only in their classrooms, but in their homes and with adequate speed so that parents can work at the same time, their children study,” Sperling continued.
The Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund, supervised by the Treasury Department, is focused on distributing $10 billion in ARPA funding for broadband infrastructure projects. States had between Sept. 24, 2021, and Dec. 27, 2021, to apply for the fund program, and up to Sept. 24, 2022, to submit a grant plan to the U.S. Treasury.
According to the U.S. Treasury, more than $136 million was allocated to West Virginia, with the state being approved to spend the full amount. The funding will help expand high-speed broadband to 20,000 locations, or 10 percent of locations in the state that lack access to broadband.