The Washington State Community Economic Revitalization Board recently approved $3.2 million in low-interest loans and $2.67 million in grants for public infrastructure projects targeting rural broadband, business growth and job creation in various counties across the state, including Kitsap County.
Other counties receiving funds and grants were Clallam, Mason, Whatcom and Yakima counties. Four of the projects were awarded funding under the state’s first Rural Broadband program, established with $4.6 million in the 2017-19 capital budget to increase access to education, business, telemedicine and other community and economic development opportunities that rely on high-speed broadband connectivity, according to a CERB press release.
Kitsap County will receive a $500,000 loan and a $500,000 grant for Public Utility District No. 1 for engineering, permitting, construction and material procurement for the Last Mile Broadband Big Valley Project. When completed, it will provide an estimated 158 connections with increased internet speeds up to 1G/1G and increase the number of ISPs available to six. CERB funds are matched by $420,000 in local resources.
“CERB projects represent an important partnership between the state and local communities resulting in enhanced economic vitality,” CERB Chair Randy Hayden said in the release.
“The projects approved for funding represent the economic, cultural and geographic diversity of our state. The board is pleased to collaborate with each of these communities to create permanent private sector jobs.”
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.