Port receives grant for broadband internet study

The Washington State Department of Commerce Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) recently awarded four organizations, including the Port of Camas-Washougal, with grants to help fund feasibility studies for economic development projects.

The Port received a $50,000 grant to fund a study for its “Southeast 41st Street Broadband Planning Project,” which it hopes will bring high-speed broadband internet service to rural constituents and improved broadband service for the entire Port district, according to a news release.

“(We) believe that increased broadband access and connectivity to our unserved (and) underserved area will significantly strengthen the economy of east Clark County and will expand living wage employment opportunities,” Port commissioners stated in a resolution that they approved on Wednesday, March 2.

CERB also awarded funds to the Port of Ridgefield, Spokane County and the Port of Whitman County through its Rural Broadband Program, which provides low-interest loan and grant packages to local governments and federally-recognized Indian tribes, financing the cost to build infrastructure that provides high-speed, open-access broadband service to rural underserved communities for the purpose of community economic development, according to its website.

“CERB has a proven track record for being a good steward of public money and advocate for local communities,” CERB chair Randy Hayden said in a news release. “Targeted local investment in planning is essential to building a foundation for successful and sustainable economic growth. CERB’s dedication to helping communities around Washington is vital to our state’s economy.” 

The Port plans to supplement the grant with $12,500 of its own funds.