U.S. Department of Commerce Invests to Support Critical Infrastructure Improvement and Workforce Training Efforts in West Virginia
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is investing more than $7 million in the state of West Virginia to develop infrastructure needed for business growth and workforce training programs.
The grants, some of which are located in or are near Tax Cuts and Jobs Act designated Opportunity Zone or funded under the Assistance to Coal Communities (ACC) initiative, will be matched with $4.4 million in local, state, and other federal funding. These grants are expected to help create or retain more than 1,200 jobs, and spur $380 million in private investment.
“President Trump promised to end the war on coal and to support Americans living in coal communities, and the Department of Commerce is helping make good on that promise,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “These grants will create new jobs and industries in West Virginia, in addition to supporting a new $360 million investment in the state’s coal industry.”
“We are pleased to work closely with West Virginia’s Governor, Senators, and Representatives to support local-devised strategies aimed at driving private investment to the state,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Dr. John Fleming. “We congratulate our grantees on their focus and commitment to strengthening their communities.”
“We are extremely glad that the U.S. Economic Development Administration has made $7 million available to assist us in our on-going improvements to infrastructure and workforce training facilities throughout West Virginia,” said Governor Jim Justice. “This assistance from the EDA will help to retain and create hundreds of jobs while attracting significant business investments from the private sector.”
“I am glad to see that the Economic Development Administration (EDA) is supporting West Virginia by investing in our regional economies and infrastructure which is essential to creating good paying jobs, boosting economic development and improving the lives of all residents and businesses across West Virginia,” said Senator Manchin. “I truly believe West Virginians are the most dedicated and hardworking individuals and through these investments that create jobs, our people will be able to prove it. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I will continue to fight for federal funding that strengthens and diversifies our economy, and supports West Virginians and their goals.”
“Improving our economy, revitalizing communities, and creating opportunities for West Virginians has been a top priority of mine since day one,” said Senator Capito, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and chairman of the Senate EPW Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee. “That’s exactly why after just two months of being a United States Senator, I made it a priority to meet directly with EDA leadership to encourage them to invest in West Virginia—specifically focusing on projects that spur economic growth. My position on the Senate Appropriations Committee and my chairmanship on the EPW Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee have allowed me the opportunity to deliver real and tangible results for West Virginians, and today’s announcement is a perfect example of this. I’m proud to have Assistant Secretary Dr. Fleming with me today in West Virginia to announce this important funding that will provide much-needed support to projects in every corner of West Virginia, and I look forward to continuing our efforts together to make West Virginia the best place to live and work.”
“I am very pleased that West Virginia is receiving over $7 million in grants to support workforce development and infrastructure projects,” said Congressman Alex X. Mooney (WV-02). “These grants are critically important and will bring much needed economic development opportunities to communities across West Virginia. I will continue to work with the Trump Administration to ensure West Virginia has access to this federal funding.”
“This funding will dramatically help our community grow after the last Administration’s,‘War on Coal,’” said Congresswoman Miller. “Thank you, President Trump, for making our state a priority by providing crucial resources needed to build up our infrastructure, create new jobs, and bring more private investment into Southern West Virginia.”
The EDA investments announced today are:
- The city of Philippi will receive $2 million to extend exiting sewer infrastructure by approximately three miles along U.S. Routes 119/250 to serve the Arch Coal Sentinel/Leer South mine. The grant, to be matched with $500,000 in local funds, is expected to help create 150 jobs, retain 450 jobs, and spur $360 million in private investment. The new state-of-the art long-wall mining operation will directly support the growing domestic steel production sector in addition to expanding exports to meet the global need in the coking and thermal industry markets. The project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by Region 7 Planning and Development Council.
- The Pocahontas Public Service District in Bartow will receive $1.5 million to make sanitary sewer infrastructure improvements needed to help the county’s largest manufacturer, Inter-State Hardwoods, expand into a new 50,000 square-foot facility. The improved sewer infrastructure will also serve approximately six additional businesses. The grant, to be matched with $900,000 in state funds and $600,000 in other federal funding, is expected to help create 60 jobs, retain 153 jobs and spur $3.5 million in private investment. This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Region 4 Planning and Development Council (PDC). EDA funds the Region 4 PDC 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.
- The town of Capon Bridge will receive $1.2 million to support the growth of the manufacturing sector by providing sewer infrastructure to serve the Capon Bridge Business and Technology Park. The grant, to be matched with $1 million in state funds and $300,500 in local funds, is expected to help create 43 jobs, retain 23 jobs, and generate $2.6 million in private investment. This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Region 8 PDC.
- The Putnam Public Service District in Scott Depot will receive $860,000 to make sewer service improvements needed to support a state-of-the-art service and parts center for high-end commercial and vocational trucks. The grant, to be matched with $215,000 in local funds, is expected to help create 20 jobs, retain 20 jobs, and generate $5 million in private investment. This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Regional Intergovernmental Council.
- The Business Development Corporation (BDC) of the Northern Panhandle in Weirton will receive $750,000 to help purchase 20 welding booths for the BDC and West Virginia Northern Community College to create an industry-supported 20-week welding training program and fill a critical employment shortage. The grant, to be matched with $590,000 in state funding, is expected to help create 208 jobs and generate $8.3 million in private investment. This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Brooke-Hancock Planning and Development Council.
- The West Virginia Coalition for Technology Based Economic Development in South Charleston will receive $500,000 to help launch the TechWrx West Virginia entrepreneurial development initiative, which will provide an entrepreneur development and assessment tool, stage entrepreneurial expos that will benefit 40 counties, and provide enhanced commercialization opportunities for regional entrepreneurs. The project also includes Opportunity Zone training for entrepreneurs and startups. The grant, to be matched with $125,000 in state funds, is expected to help create 25 jobs, retain 50 jobs, and generate $2 million in private investment.
- The Eastern Panhandle Regional Planning and Development Council in Martinsburg will receive $150,000 to design and engineer roadway and other infrastructure improvements needed to open 526 acres of land to manufacturing and commercial entities while also accommodating the expansion plans of the local community college. The grant will be matched with $150,000 in local funds.
- Marshall University Research Corporation in Huntington will receive $57,375 to enable the Robert C. Byrd Institute to complete a regional workforce analysis for 23 counties in central and southern West Virginia. The analysis will specifically focus on the diversification of the economy that has declined as a result of the downturn in the coal industry. The grant, to be matched with $57,375 in local funds, is expected to generate $54,875 in private investment through Appalachian Power’s commitment to the project.
The EDA grants for the town of Capon Bridge and the Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle are being invested in designated Opportunity Zones. The EDA grants for the West Virginia Coalition for Technology Based Economic Development and the Eastern Panhandle Regional Planning and Development Council will serve nearby Opportunity Zones.
Opportunity Zones were 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 Commerce Department’s work in Opportunity Zones, please visit EDA’s Opportunity Zones webpage.
The city of Philippi, Pocahontas Public Service District, West Virginia Coalition for Technology Based Economic Development, Putnam Public Service District, and Marshall University Research Corporation projects are funded under the ACC initiative, through which EDA awards 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.
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.