Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.2 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to the county of Bernalillo, New Mexico, to build fiber optic infrastructure to support business expansion. This EDA grant, to be matched with $303,147 in local funds, is expected to create 2,400 jobs and generate $190 million in private investment.
“President Biden is committed to supporting communities as they not only recover from this pandemic but build back stronger,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “This EDA investment in Bernalillo County will expand access to high-speed internet services, attracting new businesses to the region leading to a stronger, more resilient economy.”
“The Economic Development Administration plays an important role in supporting community-led economic development strategies designed to boost coronavirus recovery and response efforts,” said Jorge Ayala, Director of EDA’s Austin Regional Office. “This investment will provide for the installation of up to 50,000 feet of fiber optic and conduit necessary to support broadband needs, attracting new employers and creating job opportunities.”
“Broadband can make all the difference for New Mexico communities and I’m glad that this funding will go toward building fiber optic infrastructure and supporting businesses,” said Senator Ben Ray Luján. “As Chair of the Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Media, and Broadband, I’ll continue working to deliver investments to connect New Mexicans.”
“Expanding access to broadband across our District and across New Mexico is essential to our economy and the well-being of our communities,” said Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury (NM-01). “This grant will help advance critical broadband infrastructure here in Bernalillo County as we are working in Congress to secure more funding to expand broadband access across the country and our state. Addressing our broadband needs and the digital divide is one of my top priorities and I am grateful for the incredible federal, state, tribal and local partnerships working to get it done.”
This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Mid-Region Council of Governments (MRCOG). EDA funds MRCOG to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.
This project is funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law 116-136 PDF), which provided EDA with $1.5 billion for economic assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau’s flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) (PDF) program, provides a wide-range of financial assistance to eligible communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.