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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $2.9 Million in American Rescue Plan Funds for Critical Water Infrastructure to Support Businesses in Vernon, Texas

Award is Part of the Department of Commerce’s $300 million Coal Communities Commitment

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2.9 million grant to the city of Vernon, Texas, for water supply line improvements to support diversified business growth in a region impacted by the declining use of coal. This grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan and EDA’s $300 million Coal Communities Commitment.

This grant will replace a portion of the city’s main waterline, which is currently plagued by frequent breakages, to provide reliable service to businesses. The EDA investment will be matched with $741,000 in local funds and is expected to create or retain more than 950 jobs and generate $25 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.

“President Biden is committed to supporting coal communities across the country as they recover and rebuild from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This EDA investment will provide Vernon’s business community with the water capacity it needs to succeed.”

“The Economic Development Administration is dedicated to working with communities to support their locally-driven strategies to recover and rebuild from the pandemic,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This project announced today will provide dependable infrastructure in Vernon to support job growth and spur private investment in the area while helping the region transition from a coal-centric economy.”

“Thanks to the Economic Development Administration’s support, Vernon will be able to make critical water supply line improvements, benefitting members of the community and helping bolster the local economy,” said Governor Greg Abbott. “This investment will contribute to job growth and infrastructure needs for Texans in the area, and we look forward to continuing to boost and grow the Vernon community with these new opportunities.”

This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Nortex Regional Planning Commission (Nortex). EDA funds Nortex 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 EDA’s American Rescue Plan Economic Adjustment Assistance program, which makes $500 million in Economic Adjustment Assistance grants available to American communities. The Economic Adjustment Assistance program is EDA’s most flexible program, and grants made under this program will help hundreds of communities across the nation plan, build, innovate, and put people back to work through construction or non-construction projects designed to meet local needs.

EDA’s Coal Communities Commitment allocates $300 million of EDA’s $3 billion American Rescue Plan appropriation to support coal communities as they recover from the pandemic and to help them create new jobs and opportunities, including through the creation or expansion of a new industry sector. Specifically, EDA has dedicated $100 million of its Build Back Better Regional Challenge funds and $200 million of its Economic Adjustment Assistance funds to directly support coal communities. Effective May 26, 2022, EDA has officially closed all of its American Rescue Plan programs for applications. The $3 billion program funding will be awarded on a rolling basis through September 30, 2022.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
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 invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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