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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests to Provide Critical Water Infrastructure to Prevent Future Floods and Boost Business Development in East Palo Alto, California Opportunity Zone

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $4.4 million grant to the city of East Palo Alto, California, to make critical stormwater infrastructure improvements to prevent future flooding in the Ravenswood Redevelopment Area. The grant, to be located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act designated Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $1.1 million in local investment, and is expected to help create 10,900 jobs and attract $1.7 billion in private investment.

“The Trump Administration is committed to helping communities recover from natural disasters,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The critical improvements made to the stormwater infrastructure in the Bay Road area will increase disaster resiliency and attract further investment to an Opportunity Zone through special tax incentives.”

“East Palo Alto is rising,” said Representative Speier. “Its streets are safer and cleaner than many communities in the Bay Area, and this Department of Commerce project is key to moving this business district forward. This rebuilt road will eliminate flooding and link the new cultural arts center and soon-to-be built offices with a beautiful new park by the bay. East Palo Alto is where opportunity thrives.”

This project supports the Ravenswood-Bay Road Stormwater Infrastructure Development Project which will provide critical stormwater infrastructure to prevent future floods and revitalize the Ravenswood Redevelopment Area.

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.

The funding announced today goes to a designated Opportunity Zone, created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to spur economic development by giving tax incentives to investors in economically-distressed communities nationwide. In June 2019, EDA added Opportunity Zones as an Investment Priority, which increases the number of catalytic Opportunity Zone-related projects that EDA can fund to fuel greater public investment in these areas. To learn more about the Opportunity Zone program, see the Treasury Department resources page here. To learn more about the Commerce Department’s work in Opportunity Zones, please visit EDA’s Opportunity Zones webpage.

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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