TCAD Receives $404,170 from Appalachian Regional Commission to Extend Broadband to Lansing

Cayuga Data Juice – Broadband Connectivity Project to extend fiber broadband trunk to former coal plant and help strengthen coal impacted economy in Tompkins County, NY.

ITHACA, N.Y. – October 14, 2020 – Tompkins County Area Development (TCAD) was awarded $404,170 by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to support the “Cayuga Data Juice –Broadband Connectivity” project, a 17-mile fiber broadband trunk extension from Ithaca to the recently retired Cayuga coal plant in Lansing. This middle-mile “dark” fiber trunk is critical to the success of a 100 MW data center proposed for Cayuga’s 434-acre site; its transition represents a $100 million investment—one of the largest in Tompkins County’s history—and will create 100+ construction jobs. It also retains one of the county’s most significant taxpayers and helps employees and communities affected by the shift away from fossil fuels.

“As we have seen during this pandemic, access to the Internet is critically important. Businesses, first responders, healthcare institutions, schools, and, of course, residents, need a more reliable, high speed, lifeline to the rest of the world. Safety and economic prosperity are increasingly dependent upon this resource, which has been lacking in much of Tompkins County. With the announcement from the ARC that TCAD has been granted $404,170 to extend broadband fiber cabling from Ithaca to the former power plant in Lansing, slated to be a new data center, such access may now become a reality. We are excited that ARC’s support will enable this “middle mile” trunk line up the east side of Cayuga Lake to ensure the success of the data center and offer inter-connection points to communities along the route,” said Heather McDaniel, President, TCAD.

Funding for the award was made via the ARC’s POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative to help communities and regions affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America’s energy production. Additional support for the project was provided by Heorot Power Management (HPM) and the Tompkins County Development Corporation.

“Heorot Power Management applauds Tompkins County Area Development on winning the ARC award and commends its leadership throughout the application process,” said Jerry Goodenough, VP Development for HPM. “Data centers rely on high speed interconnection capability.  As all local stakeholders work to transition this retired coal site in Lansing into a modern data center location coupled with a large-scale solar farm, the broad band project will be a critical part of its success. Congratulations!”

To date, ARC has invested over $238 million in 293 projects, in 353 counties across Appalachia since 2015. More information about ARC’s POWER Initiative is available at www.arc.gov/power.

“I congratulate Tompkins County Area Development for their POWER award and commend them on the leadership they have shown in their community,” said ARC Federal Co-Chairman Tim Thomas. “POWER grants are playing a critical role in supporting coal-impacted communities in the Appalachian Region as they recover from COVID-19 by building and expanding critical infrastructure and creating new economic opportunities through innovative and transformative approaches. Projects like this are getting Appalachia back to work.” 

About the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC)

The Appalachian Regional Commission (www.arc.gov) is an economic development partnership agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia.

About Tompkins County Area Development

TCAD is a private not-for-profit economic development organization serving Ithaca and Tompkins County. It is New York State’s first and only Accredited Economic Development Organization, one of only 70 across North America. The mission of TCAD is to build a thriving and sustainable economy by fostering business growth and employment. Since 1964, TCAD has worked tirelessly to grow, retain, and attract companies that provide high-quality employment opportunities and strives to create a supportive environment for entrepreneurship and business development. For more information, visit TCAD at: www.tcad.org.

 

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