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NC Wins Significant Recovery Act Investments

Jeremy Sprinkle
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North Carolina has received $2.2 billion from the Recovery Act as of June 30, 2010.

$400 Million for education from "Race to the Top"

North Carolina won big in President Obama's Race to the Top Fund, securing a $400 million grant that will, in part, pay for continued implementation of Gov. Bev Perdue's Career and College: Ready, Set, Go! initiative, she announced this week:

“North Carolina’s children today are one step closer to being guaranteed the best public education possible – something every child deserves. This grant will give us the resources to more aggressively implement our plan to ensure that all of our children graduate ready for a career, college or technical training."

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed by Congress and signed into law last year included $4.35 billion for the Race to the Top Fund, a competitive grant program for the states designed to reward those which demonstrate success in raising student achievement and come up with the best plans for education reform - plans that can serve as a model for other states.

"I thank Sec. [of Education Arnie] Duncan for recognizing North Carolina’s ability to lead in education reform, and I thank everyone who worked so hard to make this possible,” said Perdue.

Our state was one of nine and the District of Columbia to win grants in the second phase of Race to the Top. President Obama has requested $1.35 billion in his next budget to continue the successful program, saying only the countries that lead the way in education will lead the world:

"There are any number of actions that we can take to enhance our nation's competitiveness and secure a better future for our people, but few of them will make as much of a difference as improving the way we educate our sons and daughters."

$250 Million for expanding broadband

Last week, Gov. Perdue announced that North Carolina has been awarded an additional $115 million in Recovery Act grants to expand broadband Internet access in our state. All together in just this year, North Carolina has received $250 million in grants from President Obama's economic stimulus plan for bringing high-speed Internet to our rural communities.

“Increasing broadband access will create new jobs up front and provide a boost for local economies to create even more jobs and a better quality of life in the near future,” said Gov. Perdue. “These improvements are especially important in rural and underserved areas of North Carolina.”

"We need high speed Internet for our homes, schools, hospitals, and workplaces," says Speed Matters, a project of the Communications Workers of America, which advocates for affordable high speed Internet access for Americans:

"But most U.S. Internet connections are far too slow to send and receive large files for medical monitoring, to run a home-based business, or for multi-media distance learning. America is falling behind our industrialized peers at a time when we should be growing our competitiveness with the rest of the world."

Download and upload speeds in the United States - the nation that invented the Internet - rank (PDF) 28th in the world, and North Carolina falls below the national average. Many remote or rural areas of our state still don't have broadband. Thanks to investments being made because of the Recovery Act, we're beginning to change that.