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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests to Provide Critical Utility Infrastructure Needed to Serve Businesses in Albany, Georgia

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $8 million grant to the city of Albany, Georgia, to install critical utility infrastructure needed to support the downtown business community. The grant, to be located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act designated Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $2.6 million in local investment and is expected to help generate $25 million in private investment.

“This project will aid downtown Albany by providing the critical infrastructure needed to increase the community’s resiliency to future natural disasters,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “Moreover, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone designation will further incentivize investment in the area and help develop the local economy.”

“Thanks to the President’s leadership and Republican-led efforts in Congress, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is delivering real results for rural America,” said Governor Kemp. “This grant to the Albany community will enhance access to high-speed internet and support critical economic and medical infrastructure in Dougherty County.”

“Regional leaders in Southwest Georgia, Albany and Dougherty County have come together time and again in the face of natural disasters to help their community recover and move forward, and I am thrilled that the U.S. Commerce Department chose to support economic development in the city of Albany,” said U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga. “This federal investment, which will be matched with $2.6 million locally and will generate additional private funding, is a perfect example of the benefits envisioned by the Opportunity Zones we created in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to help our communities in economically disadvantaged areas receive a needed boost.”

“President Trump and Secretary Ross continue to deliver on their promise to make Georgia’s infrastructure needs a priority,” said U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA). “This critical project will help build underground utility systems to serve downtown Albany and make electricity and internet connections more resilient for future natural disasters. By designating this area as an Opportunity Zone under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the Trump Administration’s investment will incentivize businesses to continue contributing to economic growth in the community.”

“This investment will help us bounce back faster after natural disasters and strengthen the local economy,” said Representative Sanford Bishop. “I am excited for the prospects the Economic Development Administration grant will bring to the City of Albany and I know it will be well-received.”

This project will help fund buried utility infrastructure, including electricity and high-speed internet, to serve businesses in downtown Albany, and will enhance utility system resiliency in the event of future natural disasters. The new infrastructure will also benefit the Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, a critical regional facility, and surrounding medical and commercial businesses. This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Southwest Georgia Regional Commission. EDA funds the Southwest Georgia Regional Commission to help 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.

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 Department’s work in Opportunity Zones, read our blog post.

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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