More than a year and a half ago, the state of West Virginia was given a $126.3 million federal "stimulus" grant to expand the availability of broadband Internet access. More than 1,000 public buildings, including about 470 schools, were to benefit.
Not a single new fiber-optic broadband connection has been put in place with the money.
To her credit, state school Superintendent Jorea Marple has decided to do something about that. She has complained to officials in Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's administration about lack of progress.
Part of Marple's concern is improving the state's education infrastructure. High-speed Internet access is increasingly important to schools.
Another concern is the federal deadline to complete the project. If it is not finished by February 2013, any unspent money will have to be sent back to Washington.
State officials in charge of the project admit it is moving more slowly than they would like. They note Frontier Communications, in charge of installing the fiber-optic cable, is doing its part by authorizing employees to work weekends and overtime and by putting additional personnel on the project.
Such a massive initiative is complex and demanding, of course. Installing the 900 miles of fiber-optic cable needed isn't accomplished by snapping one's fingers. Still, if work is behind schedule, it needs to be accelerated.
After meeting with Tomblin administration officials, Marple reportedly said she was "cautiously optimistic" about the project.
We hope she is right. But she should continue monitoring the work and, if necessary, serving as a whistle blower if it continues to run behind schedule.
West Virginia is limited in its ability to invest money in school facilities. That makes it vital that, when an opportunity such as the $126.3 million federal grant is presented, it be taken advantage of expeditiously - without risking loss of some of the money through failure to meet a deadline.