Clyburn Says Christmas Comes Early for Rural South Carolina

Dec 22, 2009 Issues: Congressional Issues, Defense and National Security, Economy and Jobs

  (Columbia, SC) – Sixth District Congressman and House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn said today rural South Carolina has receive an early Christmas present courtesy of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. 

            “Today I have received ARRA funding announcements that directly impact rural communities in South Carolina,” Congressman Clyburn said.  “These grants are evidence that the Obama Administration and the Democratic Congress have not ignored the needs of our rural areas which have been especially hard hit during these tough economic times.” 

            Today the United States Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) awarded a $1.7 million grant to Connected Nation to increase broadband access and adoption in South Carolina through better data collection and broadband planning.  NTIA has awarded Connected Nation approximately $1.2 million for broadband data collection and mapping activities over a two-year period and almost $500,000 for broadband planning activities over a five-year period in South Carolina.

            “I am pleased to see progress being made on providing broadband access to rural and underserved communities in South Carolina,” Congressman Clyburn said.  “This is the first step in quantifying the need in our state so we can devise a comprehensive strategy to close the digital divide.”

            The State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program is a matching grant program that implements the joint purposes of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Broadband Data Improvement Act (BDIA). The program will provide grants to assist states or their designees in gathering and verifying state-specific data on the availability, speed, location, and technology type of broadband services. The data they collect and compile will also be used to develop publicly available state-wide broadband maps and to inform the comprehensive, interactive, and searchable national broadband map that NTIA is required by the Recovery Act to create and make publicly available by February 17, 2011.  Subsequent NTIA grants will be made to adopt, implement and build out the strategy that develops as a result of this mapping initiative. 

            In addition, Congressman Clyburn released the most recent information regarding American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) awards from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to South Carolina’s Sixth Congressional District as of December 1, 2009.   To date, the Sixth District has received $51 million in USDA ARRA funding. An additional $142 million in USDA ARRA funds have been awarded to regional projects that include the Sixth District. 

            “This funding is very important to the health and well being of our citizens in South Carolina and to vital projects that will help improve economic opportunities in rural areas,” Congressman Clyburn said.  “These funds will help rural communities and the folks who live there build the infrastructure to begin turning the economy around.”   

            USDA was appropriated $28 billion (3.5%) of the total ARRA funding. Of this amount, approximately $20 billion was provided to increase monthly nutrition assistance benefits to over 33 million people. In addition, USDA will:

  • Expand opportunities for broadband loans and grants to rural communities
  • Provide over 80,000 home loans in rural areas;
  • Construct or repair rural water and waste treatment facilities;
  • Protect and conserve the nation’s forests and farm land;
  • Improve, develop, and finance business, industry, and employment while improving the economic and environmental climate in rural communities.

            See the attached PDFs with specific project information for the Sixth District and the region.  For more information on these projects, contact Erin Hannigan with the USDA press office at 2020-720-9962.