Merkley, Wyden Announce Nearly $750,000 to Expand Broadband to Rural Clackamas County

Washington D.C. –
U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded Oregon $749,085 in Recovery Act funds to bring broadband internet access to portions of Clackamas County.  The Broadband Infrastructure grant and accompanying loan will help the Sandy Broadband Infrastructure Project provide broadband service to the underserved rural area of Sandy.

“This funding will help provide a critical business and economic resource for the citizens of Sandy and rural Clackamas County,” said Merkley.  “Our rural communities have been hamstrung by the lack of reliable Internet service and this funding will strengthen the Sandy community by providing small businesses, schools, fire and police stations, and vital public services with improved internet access.”

“Bringing broadband access to Sandy and Clackamas County will do a lot to jumpstart job growth in these rural communities,” said Wyden.  “Investing in broadband infrastructure gives rural employers the ability to better compete in a global marketplace and support local jobs.  I’m glad to see the Recovery Act is continuing to provide valuable resources to Oregon.”

The Recovery Act funds awarded to the City of Sandy will provide wireless Internet service to rural residents and businesses that have little or no access to broadband services. This service will be provided by the City of Sandy, as a municipal Internet service provider.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture this week awarded over $277 million in rural broadband funding made available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  An additional $1.6 million in private investment will be provided in matching funds.  Congress provided USDA $2.5 billion in Recovery Act funding to help bring broadband services to rural un-served and underserved communities.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act invests billions in upgrading our nation’s transportation infrastructure, promoting the development and production of clean energy, and repairing public buildings to immediately create or save jobs.  The legislation cuts taxes for 95 percent of workers and their families, including tax credits of $400 per worker or $800 per family.  Finally, a third component of the bill provides vital funding for states to prevent state layoffs and ensure the continuation of important health, education and housing services.