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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests to Reconstruct Bridges and Ensure the Flow of Commerce in Independence County

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is investing $2.5 million in Independence County, Arkansas, to help ensure the continued flow of commerce throughout the region and especially during flood events, an investment to be matched with $625,000 in local funds.

“Helping our communities advance their disaster recovery efforts is a major priority for the Trump Administration,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The improved bridges will ensure that both traffic and business, including the local meat processing industry, continue to flow through Independence County and beyond.”

“This partnership will be instrumental in further enhancing the economic development we have seen over the past four years in Arkansas,” said Governor Asa Hutchinson. “More importantly, this investment to reconstruct the Big Creek and Center Grove Bridges will increase safety for Independence County residents and support the regional economy in the event of a natural disaster or flood.”

“Given the challenges posed by recent flooding in the area this project is a wise investment that will have positive effects both for public safety and the movement of key goods and services,” said U.S. Senator John Boozman. “I’m pleased this funding will be used to improve the quality of infrastructure in Independence County which will better serve the region’s economy and transportation needs.”

“Infrastructure is essential in keeping rural communities connected and local economies healthy, the recent floods have had a disastrous effect on northeast Arkansas,” said Congressman Rick Crawford. “This investment in Independence county will not just help these communities rebuild, but will help them achieve long-term growth.”

The project will support the reconstruction of the Big Creek and Center Grove Bridges, which are vital to the operations of several major employers in the region but are currently susceptible to flooding. This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the White River Planning and Development District. EDA funds WRPDD to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.

This project is funded under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (PL 115-123) (PDF), in which Congress appropriated to EDA $600 million in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program (PDF) funds for disaster relief and recovery as a result of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, wildfires and other calendar year 2017 natural disasters under the Stafford Act.

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.

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