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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $1.3 Million to Help Establish Unmanned Aviation System Facility at Houma-Terrebonne Airport, Louisiana

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.3 million grant to the Houma-Terrebonne Airport Commission of Houma, Louisiana, to make infrastructure improvements needed to establish an Unmanned Aviation System (UAS) facility at the Houma-Terrebonne Airport. The project, to be matched with $337,500 in local funds, is expected to help create 150 jobs, retain 70 jobs and generate $50 million in private investment.

“The Trump Administration is working diligently to empower innovators who fuel job creation in communities across the nation,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “Having UAS operations on airport facilities in the Gulf Coast will help attract new businesses to the area and generate significant economic activity for the state of Louisiana.”

“We are most excited by this announcement for its potential to provide new value for our oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico and along our coast,” said Governor Edwards. “Louisiana has long been a leader in subsea technology in the offshore energy industry. Now, we will be at the cutting-edge of aerial technology. By joining our education, government and private-sector partners, we can make Louisiana a true leader in unmanned aircraft technology to tackle many of our biggest challenges in the energy, security and military sectors.”

“This $1.3 million grant will create 150 new jobs and leverage $50 million in private investment, improving the economy and opportunities for South Louisiana families,” said U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. “A UAS facility at the Houma-Terrebonne Airport will facilitate the deployment of drones in the region, a valuable resource for oil and gas development and other industries, and support drone research at Nicholls State University.”

“This is a huge win for Terrebonne Parish after a tough downturn in the oil industry,” said U.S. Senator John Kennedy. “Investments like this encourage technological developments and create jobs. Local officials have worked hard on this project, and I congratulate them on their progress.”

“This grant is exciting news for the Houma-Terrebonne Airport, and I applaud Secretary Ross for selecting South Louisiana for this important investment,” said House Republican Whip Steve Scalise. “With the addition of an Unmanned Aviation System facility, the Houma-Terrebonne Airport will soon be at the forefront of this new transportation technology and capability. I applaud the careful research and planning that went into this grant proposal by the Houma-Terrebonne Airport over the last several years, and look forward to working with local officials to help move this new project forward.”

The project will establish UAS operations at the Houma-Terrebonne Airport to accelerate technology techniques and procedures for the entire UAS industry. The project site will be located on a 10-acre parcel in the southeast portion of the Airport's facilities, and will include access roads, an aircraft parking ramp, and a connector taxiway to the runway. This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the South Central Planning and Development Commission. EDA funds the South Central Planning and Development Commission 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.

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.

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