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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests to Help UT Austin Recover from Hurricane Harvey in Port Aransas, Texas

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $5 million grant to the University of Texas at Austin to renovate the University’s Marine Science Institute Campus in Port Aransas and help establish the Center for Coastal Ocean Science. This grant will be matched with $1.25 million in local investment.

“The Trump Administration has been working continuously to support recovery efforts in Texas after the state was devastated by Hurricane Harvey,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This project will help revitalize the UT Marine Science Institute Campus in Port Aransas by repairing several academic buildings that were damaged by the hurricane and demonstrate the Administration’s commitment to helping American communities rebuild.”

“The Lone Star State is grateful to our federal partners for their assistance in rebuilding and repairing UT Austin’s Marine Science Institute Campus in Port Aransas,” said Governor Abbott. “Thanks to investments like this one, along with the matched $1.25 million for the local community, Port Aransas can continue its rebuilding efforts and remain a hub of research and innovation for marine sciences.”

“Nearly two years after Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas, there’s no question our hardest-hit communities are still rebuilding,” said Senator Cornyn. “I’m thankful to the Trump Administration for providing this federal grant to Port Aransas to repair the University of Texas Marine Science Institute Campus, creating jobs in the Coastal Bend Region and restoring normalcy for students and researchers after the storm.”

“Our state has made huge strides on the road to recovery, thanks in large part to the strength and tenacity of the communities along the Texas Gulf Coast,” said Senator Cruz. “Port Aransas is no exception. I am grateful these funds will be used to repair the UT Marine Science Institute Campus, and will continue working to ensure Texans receive the resources they need to rebuild.”

“This EDA grant brings important hurricane relief to our district while preserving jobs and stimulating private investment,” said Congressman Cloud. “I’m excited to see the facilities rebuilt at UT Port Aransas and the resulting economic growth in the community. There is more work to do but this is a big step forward in the recovery process.”

The project will help repair multiple buildings as well as create the Center for Coastal Ocean Science, while allowing for the installation of a new seawater system to support the campus in the event of future severe weather. This project was made possible by regional planning efforts led by the Coastal Bend Council of Governments. The EDA funds the Coastal Bend Council of Governments to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap that strengthens the regional economy, supports private capital investment, and creates 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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