Panel Spent $116 Million in 2012 in VA's Tobacco Region - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Panel Spent $116 Million in 2012 in VA's Tobacco Region

Posted: Updated: Jan 4, 2013 01:03 PM EST

AP Business Writer

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A commission created to spark development in southwest and Southside Virginia spent about $116 million in the last fiscal year to change the landscape of the state's rural communities hurt by manufacturing and agricultural job losses.

The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission's most recent annual report says it approved 124 grants in the fiscal year that ended June 30.

That includes $28 million to help build industrial and commercial "mega-sites" to attract new businesses and more than $16 million to fund energy and biotechnology research. It also has provided grants for numerous economic development projects.

The commission, set to meet Tuesday in Richmond, targets communities that have the highest unemployment rates. It uses bond money from Virginia's share of the $206 billion national settlement against the tobacco industry.

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