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February 04, 2022

Trone touts impact of infrastructure spending

Credit: Cumberland Times-News, Greg Larry

CUMBERLAND, Md. — U.S. Rep. David Trone said Thursday that the recently approved infrastructure bill will bring significant improvements, including broadband expansion, to Western Maryland.

Trone (D-Md.) participated in a virtual roundtable discussion Thursday sponsored by The Greater Cumberland Committee.

“This is the first infrastructure bill in over a generation that we passed in Congress, over 1 trillion dollars,” Trone said, adding the legislation will improve Maryland’s aging roads and bridges.

“We want to drive as much funding as possible toward our roads, bridges, airports and the (U.S.) Route 219 corridor and the entire Appalachian Regional Highway System, so I believe it is a really exciting time.”

Trone said the infrastructure bill will also provide funding for much needed high speed fiber optic lines.

“What I like about the infrastructure bill is the connectivity of the digital divide,” he said. “Almost 40% of our kids in Garrett County, and Allegany is not much better, do not have high speed connectivity that is affordable. Without high speed broadband, we can’t help rural America thrive.”

Trone said $65 billion will go toward broadband expansion.

“The total price tag we will need to spend is $85 billion, but the $65 billion will get us pretty much there. We’ve got to have that in Garrett and Allegany counties. When we do that we can drive people to live in Allegany County and not have the population loss we see in Allegany and Garrett counties where young people leave to find a job somewhere else.

“Instead, we will see a reverse migration because people in the cities realize that their job (in the cities during the pandemic) wasn’t all what it was cracked up to be,” he said. 

During the meeting, Jennifer Walsh, executive director of TGCC, and Bette Slayton, president of the Bedford County, Pennsylvania, Development Association, announced that a large snack foods company will be locating in Bedford and employ up to 500 people.

The Organic Snack Company, a privately-held premium food-manufacturing company and producer of Kate’s Real Food, purchased 82 acres in Bedford in anticipation for future expansion this summer.