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HARRISBURG, PA-The state has approved an investment of $35 million scattered among 43 economic development projects in 24 counties. The projects were coordinated through Gov. Ed Rendell’s action team and are expected to create more than 2,000 jobs within the next three years while also retaining 7,300 existing jobs.

The funding comes from the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development and includes grants from the Opportunity Grant Program, tax credits and customized job training dollars. The projects will generate more than $192 million in additional private investment, according to the governor.

The 24 counties reach to all regions of the commonwealth. Allegheny County is among the largest county recipients with funds aggregating nearly $8 million, split among 11 different projects. The scope of these 11 is representative of the full 43.

For example, at the upper end of the funding, Voyager Jet Center, a private aviation service, has obtained $2.5 million for construction of a 30,000-sf fixed based operator center and a 30,000-sf office building at Allegheny County Airport. The total project cost is $17.7 million. Giant Eagle Inc. has obtained $450,000 for a $3.3-million expansion of its headquarters and warehouse distribution facilities.

GiftCards.com LLC has obtained nearly $1.2 million for relocating its customer service center from North Carolina to a 20,000-sf building in Greentree, a suburb of Pittsburgh. More typical of the overall funding is the $67,500 awarded to Book Country Clearing House for a 77,000-sf expansion of its 180,000-sf warehouse in McKeesport.

“Make no mistake, companies can relocate or expand anywhere in today’s global marketplace,” says Rendell in a statement announcing the awards. “We won’t stand pat and let the future take care of itself. We’re creating our own future by making strategic investments in areas and industries throughout the state.”

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