HARRISBURG (Feb. 15, 2021) – Sen. Joe Pittman (R-41) and Reps. Jim Struzzi (R-62) and Brian Smith (R-66) hailed Indiana County’s receipt of $2 million in federal Community Development Block Grant-CARES Act (CDBG-CV) funding to continue efforts to expand broadband capability within the county.
“Working with various partners within the county, this money will be used to extend and expand reliable and affordable rural broadband, high-speed internet, and cellular service to the unserved and underserved in the northwest corner of Indiana County,” said Sen. Pittman. “The $2 million brings the county’s current investment in broadband to $7 million, with some additional funding plans still in the works.”
Limited access to broadband service is an issue across Pennsylvania, and in Indiana County, like other rural counties, broadband access has not been readily available because the county’s rural location and small population make it unprofitable for internet service providers to offer service. Click on the following links for maps of the Indiana County CDBG-CV Competitive Application Project Area and Service Area and the Indiana County CDBG-CV competitive Application Project Area and Service Area with Service Provision Analysis.
“Senator Pittman and I have been working hard with our county commissioners on the broadband issue, so this grant is great news for unserved and underserved areas of Indiana County,” said Rep. Struzzi. “Sufficient access to broadband internet means much more than being able to download movies. Students need it to learn, people working from home need it to do their job, emergency service providers need it to keep us safe and the agriculture industry needs it more and more to keep farms operating efficiently.”
“Broadband infrastructure is just as critical to our rural communities and our regional economy as our utilities and transportation infrastructure,” said Rep. Smith. “It’s long past time to get our local governments, schools, businesses and medical facilities the high-speed internet access they need to best serve our citizens, students, customers and patients. Securing this funding is a tremendous victory for all of us who have been fighting to expand broadband access in the most rural areas of Northwestern Pennsylvania.”
A total of $5 billion in funding was authorized by the U.S. Congress through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for the CDBG program for states, metropolitan cities, urban counties, and insular areas to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19. The CARES Act requires that at least 70% of every grant be expended for activities that benefit low- and moderate-income persons by providing housing, a permanent job, a public service, or access to new or significantly improved infrastructure. The remaining 30% may be used to eliminate slum or blighted conditions, or to address an urgent need for which the grantee certifies it has no other funding. Activities must benefit residents within the jurisdiction of the grantee or as permitted by the CARES Act.
Eligible activities include public service activities, housing-related activities, public improvements and facilities, activities to acquire real property, economic development activities, and general administrative and planning activities.
Jeremy Dias (Sen. Pittman) firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott Little (Rep. Struzzi) 717.260.6137
Ty McCauslin (Rep. Smith) 717.772.9979