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Broadband In Mountains Could Receive Federal Funding

Matt Bush WCQS

Federal funding could soon be coming to eight different projects in western North Carolina after governor Roy Cooper recommended each receive money.  The funds would come from the Appalachian Regional Commission, which was created in 1965 by Congress.  It dispenses federal dollars to 13 states that make up the Appalachian region as defined by the federal government.  North Carolina is one of those 13 states, and Governor Cooper has recommended that eight different projects in the western part of the state receive from the ARC.  Among them, Rutherford County, which could receive almost $900-thousand to re-pave and widen Jack McKinney Road (State Route 1111) which leads to a vacant industrial facility.  Local leaders believe upgrades to the road would increase the chances a new business or businesses would relocate to the 65-acre site. Haywood Community College is seeking $100-thousand to equip its Advanced Machining Incubator, which the school says could house seven small businesses.  And a six-city initiative to increase wifi service in western North Carolina could get close to $50-thousand in funding.  The Next Generation Network project would lay new fiberoptic cable throughout the region, something leaders say is difficult in western North Carolina because of its rocky and mountainous terrain.  The six cities involved in the plan are Asheville, Laurel Park, Biltmore Forest, Waynesville, Fletcher, and Hendersonville.