WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) have announced $317,000 in grant funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) for Allegany and Garrett counties.
A $242,000 grant is being awarded to the Maryland Broadband Cooperative to improve Allegany and Garrett Counties’ internet infrastructure. The funds will be used to construct or light more than 60 miles of fiber cable, expanding bandwidth capabilities and bringing increased internet speeds to the region. The project will help retain 6,346 existing jobs and is estimated to create 1,815 new jobs as a direct result of increased internet access.
A $75,000 grant is being awarded to the Allegany County Board of Education to purchase classroom computer and science equipment. The equipment will be used to expand the successful Active Learning Labs (ALL) program to eastern Allegany County. The ALL program will be established at South Penn, Northeast and Flintstone Elementary schools, where an additional 282 students will gain access to the latest in computer and science education equipment.
“These federal investments in Allegany and Garrett Countries will improve both the region’s economic outlook and their public schools – two areas we can all agree deserve our attention and resources,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Finance Committee. “These funds are a great example of how federal dollars can be used to help local communities flourish. I’m proud of the work ARC is doing to help our small businesses and our public school students, and prouder still to be their federal partner in those efforts.”
“Ensuring access to high speed internet and STEM education is crucial to Western Maryland’s economic success,” said Senator Van Hollen, a member of the Budget and Appropriations Committees. “These investments will support our students as they learn the skills needed to obtain good-paying jobs, boost entrepreneurs looking to start new ventures, and help local businesses who are looking to hire and expand. I will continue fighting for funding for our communities to improve internet infrastructure, strengthen education, and grow our economy.”
The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is a regional economic development agency that represents a partnership of federal, state and local government. Its mission is to invest in projects that expand rural communities’ access to the services and economic development assistance they need to thrive. Senators Cardin and Van Hollen advocated for and secured maintained funding for ARC in the FY18 Omnibus despite the Trump Administration’s proposal to eliminate ARC.