U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $6.7 Million to Support Local Business Development and Job Growth Efforts in West Virginia
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding $6.7 million in grants to the State of West Virginia to support local business development and job growth efforts. According to grantee estimates, the projects are expected to create or retain more than 1,430 jobs, while generating $35 million in private investment.
“The Trump Administration is committed to creating new opportunities for American workers and building the infrastructure necessary for sustainable growth,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “These projects will help support the efforts of local leaders to diversify and grow the state’s economy.”
“We’re extremely pleased that the EDA is funding these projects in West Virginia,” said Governor Jim Justice. “It will not only improve the quality of life for our citizens, but it will provide opportunities for economic development as we continue to grow and move forward in West Virginia. Again, we thank Secretary Ross and the Trump Administration for investing in West Virginia.”
“I’ve always said that economic growth starts at the local level, which is why it’s important that we continue working to revitalize and support our small communities in West Virginia,” said Senator Capito. “For years, I’ve worked directly with the Department of Commerce to encourage a renewed focus and drive investment in West Virginia so we can spur economic development and boost our economy. I am thrilled that the EDA has decided to once again invest in our state, and I’m proud of the role I played in making today’s announcement possible. Not only will these investments lead to more than a thousand new jobs for West Virginians looking for work now, but they will also lead to significant private investment that will benefit the region’s economy over the long term.”
“These grants will encourage economic development and improve the quality of life in communities across the state,” said U.S. Representative David McKinley. “Diversifying the economy of West Virginia needs to be a top priority. We will continue to work with the EDA and other federal agencies to bring as many resources to bear as possible to help West Virginia achieve that goal.”
The EDA investments announced today are:
- McDowell County Public Service District in Welch will receive $1.75 million to assist in the replacement of antiquated water systems. The improved water infrastructure will serve 32 businesses that currently rely on inadequate and unsafe water in the communities of Northfork, Keystone, Kyle, Upland, Powhatan. According to grantee estimates, the project is expected to help create 99 jobs, retain 65 existing jobs and generate $1 million in private investment. The project was developed in cooperation with the EDA-supported Economic Development District, Region 1 Planning and Development Council.
- Benedum Airport Authority of Bridgeport will receive $1.7 million to support the development of shovel-ready industrial sites and a building outside of the floodplain to aid expansion of the aerospace industry and support local disaster economic recovery efforts in the wake of severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides that impacted the region in July 2017. According to grantee estimates, the project is expected to help create or retain 340 jobs and generate more than $8 million in private investment. The project was developed in cooperation with the EDA-supported Economic Development District, Region VI Planning and Development Commission.
- Buffalo Creek Public Service District of Amherstdale will receive $1.5 million to support commercial and economic development by establishing a sanitary sewer collection system that will adjoin the newly constructed four-lane highway in Logan County. The improvements will also assist with the continued development of the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System. According to grantee estimates, the project is expected to create 250 jobs and spur $10 million in private investment. The project was developed in cooperation with the EDA-supported Economic Development District, Region 2 Planning and Development Council.
- The city of Bluefield will receive $1 million to drive economic development and diversification efforts in the region by supporting the construction of a 15-acre multi-purpose, multi-tenant property on the border of West Virginia and Virginia. According to grantee estimates, the project is expected to create 250 jobs and spur $11 million in private investment. The project was developed in cooperation with the EDA-support Economic Development District, Region 1 Planning and Development Council.
- The Branchland-Midkiff Public Service District in Branchland will receive $540,000 to upgrade the current water service system to serve 32 existing businesses and increase capacity for future development in Lincoln County. According to grantee estimates, the project is expected to create or retain 174 jobs. The project was developed in cooperation with the EDA-supported Economic Development District (EDD), Region 2 Economic Development District.
- Coalfield Development Corporation in Wayne will receive $222,000 to assist with a strategic planning initiative to ensure that Coalfield’s many resources and partnerships are being used most efficiently and effectively to maximize the region’s potential to create sustainable, well-paying jobs. This plan will identify opportunities and approaches for expanding and enhancing the successful workforce initiatives currently underway. According to grantee estimates, the project is expected to create or retain 260 jobs and spur $5 million in private investment. The project was made possible by regional planning efforts led by the Region 1 and Region 2 Economic Development Districts.
The McDowell County Public Service District, Buffalo Creek Public Service District, city of Bluefield, Branchland-Midkiff Public Service District and Coalfield Development Corporation projects are being funded under the 2018 Assistance to Coal Communities (ACC 2108) program, through which EDA will award funds on a competitive basis to assist communities severely impacted by the declining use of coal through activities and programs that support economic diversification, job creation, capital investment, workforce development, and re-employment opportunities.
This Benedum Airport Authority 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 (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 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.