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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce


Press Release

U.S. EDA's Smart, Fiscally Sound Investments Highlighted During U.S. House Hearing

Public & Private Sector Leaders Tout Agency's Record of Promoting Economic and Job Growth

WASHINGTON - During a hearing of the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Works, and Emergency Management yesterday, leaders from the public and private sectors touted the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration's (EDA) smart and fiscally sound investments to accelerate economic and job growth.

"EDA has an arsenal of creative strategies and a proven record of helping communities revitalize their economies. We must appreciate the expertise of EDA and fund the agency if we are serious about short-term and long-term recovery from this economic downturn," said David Spaur, President and CEO, Merced County Economic Development Corporation.

Steve Etcher, Executive Director, Boonslick Regional Planning Commission, National Association of Development Organizations; David L. Spaur, President, Merced County Economic Development Corporation; and David Baker, Senior Vice President, FutureFuel Corporation, testified during the hearing entitled, Economic Development Administration: How To Improve Effectiveness Through Reforms and Consolidations.

"In 1993, Porta-King Building Systems, a small start-up company that manufactures modular building systems, was looking for a site. The company wanted to locate in an industrial building in the small town of Montgomery City, Missouri. However, the city lacked the water and sewer capacity to meet the projected needs of the company. In partnership with EDA, we worked with the city, local banks and state officials to finance the needed public infrastructure improvements. As a result, Porta-King created 40 new high quality, private sector jobs in this rural community," said Steve Etcher, Executive Director, Boonslick Regional Planning Commission, National Association of Development Organizations.

"With help and guidance from our Economic Development District on how to identify and leverage resources, and through a small investment from EDA combined with local and state assistance, we have truly been able to experience tremendous growth in rural Arkansas during an extremely turbulent and challenging business climate," said David Baker, Senior Vice President, FutureFuel Corporation.

"Due to the Agency's focused mission yet flexible policies and programs, EDA investments are among the most efficient and effective in government," said Steve Etcher, Executive Director, Boonslick Regional Planning Commission, National Association of Development Organizations.

"When we look closely at thriving economies, we see at their core a business climate that supports innovation, industry clusters, and the development and growth of entrepreneurs and small businesses. EDA's investments cultivate public/private partnerships that support strategies to capitalize on regional assets to create jobs and encourage business expansion," said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez, head of EDA.

Read the testimonies and watch the hearing proceedings here.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration:

The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.