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Justice announces efforts to get broadband money for West Virginia

(WCAX)
Published: Sep. 3, 2020 at 5:01 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va (WTAP) - As much as $800 million is available from the federal government to improve broadband service.

West Virginia wants at least part of that money.

But it has to increase the money it has available to bid for some of that funding.

Governor Jim Justice announced Thursday he is issuing an executive order eliminating the limit on funding that can be made available for broadband providers.

The money for which the state is eligible could make broadband available to more than 120,000 households.

”We have a cap of $50 million within the state and we have a cap per entity of $10 million. We need, in order for this thing to really flow, to increase the overall cap, and that’s what we’re talking about today.”

The briefing Justice held Thursday was different from the usual COVID-19 hearings, although he mentioned the latest reported deaths and one reporter asked him about reports of the possibility of a vaccine before the end of the year.

Instead of the usual health experts, a number of state elected leaders and lawmakers-including some from both political parties with whom the governor has had differences in the past-joined the briefing remotely, expressing support for the broadband efforts.

The governor also announced tax revenues for the first two months of the current budget year (July and August) are more than $80 million above estimates.

That, he said, has led to a surplus so far this year of more than $244 million.

West Virginia had its largest monthly cash balance in history for the first month of any fiscal year, due in part to a delay in the filing deadline for 2019 state income taxes, due to the pandemic.

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