The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $613,750 CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to the Missouri Association of Councils of Government (MACOG), Jefferson City, Missouri, to develop broadband feasibility plans and provide technical assistance across the state. This EDA grant will be matched with $613,750 in state investment.

“The Biden Administration is committed to helping communities across the nation implement strategies to mitigate economic hardships brought on by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This EDA investment will provide planning and feasibility studies and technical assistance to develop broadband service, providing state and regional planning commissions with the tools and data they need to create a more resilient broadband infrastructure.”

“We are very excited about this aggressive broadband planning opportunity for our state and regions,” said Cindy Hultz, MACOG President and Executive Director of the Mark Twain Regional Council of Governments. “Missouri’s RPCs continue to be a key broadband planning partner with the State and we look forward to bringing new broadband opportunities to our underserved areas.”

“Our administration has long been committed to expanding quality broadband internet access to every citizen in every corner of the state, and we appreciate our EDA partners helping with this mission,” said Governor Mike Parson. “We recently announced our intention to invest more than $400 million toward broadband connectivity across the state, and the funds this grant provides will help MACOG inform our historic broadband expansion effort and ensure planned expenditures are efficient and effective.”

“While our state has made meaningful progress toward ending the digital divide, nearly one-third of rural Missourians still don’t have access to broadband,” said Senator Roy Blunt. “This investment will help local officials develop plans that will pave the way for bringing broadband service to unserved areas across Missouri. I’ll continue working with state and local partners to ensure the federal government is doing its part to bring high speed internet to every home, business, and farm in our state.”

This project is funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law 116-136), 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) 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.