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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $1.7 Million to Improve Lamar Boulevard in Hattiesburg, Mississippi

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.7 million grant to the city of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to rehabilitate and improve Lamar Boulevard so that it better drains in the event of potential flood events and can support increased commercial traffic volume. The investment, to be matched with $455,968 in local funds, is expected to help create or save more than 400 jobs and spur $23 million in private investment.

“President Trump is committed to helping communities that have been impacted by natural disasters recover and rebuild critical infrastructure so they can remain economically competitive,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This project will help Hattiesburg rehabilitate and stabilize Lamar Boulevard to ensure continued commercial growth.”

“Hattiesburg and the Pine Belt Region have celebrated significant economic development wins in recent years,” said Governor Phil Bryant. “EDA’s investment in this project will benefit the local community for generations to come and I’m appreciative of Secretary Ross and his team for their continued support.”

“Continual investments in infrastructure, especially our roads, are important to maintaining a strong economy,” said Senator Wicker. “This disaster recovery grant will help Hattiesburg mitigate flooding on Lamar Boulevard and retain an important business partner and employer.”

“This project involves critical infrastructure enhancements to mitigate severe storm damage and foster job creation,” said U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss). “I appreciate that this federal investment will be combined with local resources to improve Hattiesburg on a cooperative basis. I commend the Administration’s attention to helping Hattiesburg overcome natural disasters while boosting local businesses, jobs, and the economy.”

“This grant will benefit Hattiesburg in many ways, including the creation and protection of more than 400 jobs and the investment of $23 million into the local economy,” said Congressman Steven Palazzo, (R-Miss.). “Mitigating flooding by proactively investing in drains along Lamar Boulevard is crucial in supporting long-term commercial growth for the area.”

The project will allow the relocation of Regions Bank to West Hattiesburg and will support established and future business needs to help further revitalize the area. The relocation of Regions Bank will provide job opportunities for a workforce that encompasses multiple counties and help stimulate the area’s retail, commercial and service sectors. This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District. EDA funds Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District 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 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.

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