The Washington State Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) approved $2,816,649 in low-interest loans and grants for public infrastructure to provide high-speed, open-access broadband service, and $150,000 in grants for economic feasibility studies targeting business growth and job creation. And Mason County PUD 3 is among the six to receive funding.
CERB awarded a $408,325 loan and $408,324 grant to PUD 3 for Mason County Rural Broadband Fiber Expansion. This rural broadband program project consists of construction and extension of open-access ready-to-connect fiber networks to six unserved rural communities in Mason County. CERB funds were matched by $150,000 local resources.
The others to receive fuding are Jefferson County PUD #1, the city of Goldendale, the Port of Skagit County, the town of Darrington, and the Port of Whitman County
“Rural broadband infrastructure investments are a fundamental piece of community growth,” said CERB Chair Randy Hayden. “The New Rural Broadband Program funding is vital in strengthening the economy of these counties by opening up new opportunities for citizens, businesses, education, health care, and the local governments.”
“Virtually every job and economic opportunity today require access to broadband services,” said Brian Bonlender, director of the Washington State Department of Commerce. “Where someone lives should not be a determining factor in pursuing educational goals, entrepreneurial dreams or quality health care. These funds announced today will help meet the needs and strength rural and tribal communities throughout our state.”
The release of CERB funds to these projects is contingent upon each applicant completing specific pre-contract requirements, such as finalizing other funding sources and obtaining necessary permits.
Since 1982, CERB has committed nearly $163 million to local jurisdictions across the state, an investment generating more than 35,000 jobs, and private capital investment of a $5.6 billion ($34 to $1) return on CERB investment.
As Washington’s strategic economic development resource, CERB is focused on creating private-sector jobs in partnership with local governments by financing infrastructure improvements. These improvements encourage new business development and expansion. In addition to funding construction projects, CERB provides limited funding for studies that evaluate high-priority economic development projects.