Broadband project to reapply for next round of ARRA funding
Digital 395, the Internet superhighway broadband infrastructure project designed to bring cutting edge data transmission to a large portion of U.S. 395 and surrounding communities was denied funding from part of the $787 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus package sometime in the very late hours of last week.
During Tuesday’s Board meeting, Mono County Supervisors learned the reason given had something to do with certain “unclear” aspects of the project’s operation, once installation is completed. Everything looked good at the end of last week, according to word received by Supervisor Hap Hazard, who’s been keeping close tabs on the project’s progress. During the weekend, however, Hazard said he received a follow up message from Praxis Executive Michael Ort, whose company created and is spearheading Digital 395, saying that funding had been denied.
Vallejo-based Praxis Associates is seeking ARRA funding to cover 80 percent of the project’s cost, estimated at between $110-120 million. Ort had said earlier last year that the company was hoping for a November start, but allowed that was probably optimistic given how things tend to progress through the corridors of power in the nation’s capitol. Turns out he was right. As 2009 came to a close, Digital 395 met with delay after delay as the funding process became bogged down by large numbers of projects seeking funding.
Early reports of the project’s demise, however, appear to have been premature and greatly exaggerated. “It was dead, but it’s being resuscitated,” Hazard said.
For more on this story, see this weekend’s print edition of The Sheet.