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A ‘Transformational’ Moment for Virginia

- March 13, 2024

Gov. Glenn Youngkin and Amazon Web Services formally announced the company’s $35 billion dollar investment in data centers at Germanna Community College.

To truly understand the word “billion,” some context is necessary. Jeff Black of the Caroline County Board of Supervisors provided that frame of reference at Germanna Community College on Wednesday morning where Gov. Glenn Youngkin and a number of state and local leaders in the political and educational spheres gathered to kick-off Amazon Web Services’ $35 billion investment in Virginia over the next 16 years.

Speaking of the $6 billion investment AWS is making in Caroline, Black said he’d done the math and found that “our budget per year is roughly around $55 million. And [AWS is] going to do $6 billion. … I’m not very good at math, but it was 106 years to make that up in our current budget.”

Given that context, Gov. Youngkin’s description of AWS’ $35 billion investment as a “transformational effort” comes into focus.

This influx of capital has an obvious impact, of course. A substantial new tax revenue stream for local communities. Spotsylvania County Supervisor Jacob Lane said, for example, that the $6 billion AWS is investing his county will return “$13.8 million in average annual tax revenue for the county over a period of 15 years, beginning in 2025.”

Beyond this immediate benefit, however, said Youngkin, are the “ripple effect of data centers.”

This includes both an upstream ecosystem, that includes supply chains and workforce training that feeds into the data center community, and a downstream ecosystem that involves everything from “development to cybersecurity all the way to all the businesses that support this community.”

For every data center job created, Youngkin noted, four more people are hired around the ecosystem.

The partnership between Amazon and Virginia is hardly new. Over the past 18 years the company has invested $60 billion.

This partnership between AWS and Virginia, says the governor, has made the commonwealth the “international center of data centers.” To such an extent, in fact, that today 70% of the global internet traffic comes through Virginia.

The benefits of this agreement will extend to community colleges as well, where programs are currently in place to train the fiber optic technical workforce that will build all of this.

The sweetener on a joyous day at Germanna? Amazon’s announcement that the AWS Community Fund for this region is committing $400,000 in grants to local community groups, schools, nonprofits and other organizations.

- Published posts: 238

by Martin Davis EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

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