WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has announced that $7,680,000 from the American Rescue Plan (ARP), through the Economic Development Administration (EDA), will go to two West Virginia projects.

The funding will go towards the support of water infrastructure upgrades to “bolster local businesses in McDowell County” as well as the design of a statewide broadband implementation plan. This broadband plan will be done through Princeton based Regional Optical Communications, “a consortium of counties led by the Region 1 and 4 Planning and Development Councils.”

“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 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.”

The awards are part of the EDA’s Coal Communities Commitment (CCC) program, which supports coal communities as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These EDA investments will provide for water infrastructure upgrades and the development of a broadband implementation plan in support of job creation and business development,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo.

“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,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo.

Individual awards listed below:

  • $6,480,000 – McDowell County Public Service District, Welch, West Virginia
    • This 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.
    • This award funds the Phase III Elkhorn Water project to provide quality and dependable potable water and fire protection services to approximately 50 businesses, including bed and breakfasts and private campgrounds in Welch, 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, retain 616 jobs, and generate $10.4 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.
    • This award supports the completion of a state-wide roadmap for implementation of affordable broadband initiatives throughout West Virginia, including administrative services and contractual work.