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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $10.1 Million in West Virginia to Support Local Strategies to Spur Business and Job Growth, Including in Opportunity Zones

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is investing $10.1 million in the state of West Virginia to protect businesses from flooding, spur growth in a critical industry sector, boost workforce training efforts, and provide infrastructure needed to support businesses, including those in Opportunity Zones. The EDA grants, to be matched with $3.4 million in local funds, are expected to help create or retain more than 2,500 jobs and spur $69 million in private investment.

“The Trump Administration aims to create American jobs and to ensure U.S. business communities thrive,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “These projects will support business growth in West Virginia, diversify the state’s economy, and create new jobs for West Virginia residents. The projects located in or near Opportunity Zones will attract additional private investment to the state.”

“The Economic Development Administration plays an important role in supporting locally-developed strategies to encourage private investment and support job growth,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “We are pleased to make these investments in West Virginia to provide the critical infrastructure needed to support businesses and workers, diversify the West Virginia economy, and spur private investment in West Virginia Opportunity Zones.”

“Once again President Donald Trump and his Administration have stepped up to help West Virginia, this time with over $10 million to help create or retain more than 2,500 jobs,” said Governor Jim Justice. “One of my highest priorities as governor is long-term economic development, and our state has been on the move like never before, but it’s continued support like this from President Trump and the EDA that’s going to help our people shine and springboard us to future prosperity.”

“The EDA has invested over $50 million into the Mountain State in the past five years alone, and without their support for our state and our people, our economy and businesses would be a lot worse for wear,” said Senator Joe Manchin. “Today’s project announcements highlight the great work being done across our state and in various sectors, from manufacturing to natural disaster preparedness. These projects are projected to create and retain over 2,500 jobs for West Virginians across our state. I am very proud of our state for showing that when you give West Virginians a chance, we will always show you how hardworking we are and we deserve the same chances as any other state to prove ourselves. I look forward to seeing these projects completed in the upcoming months and years and will continue to work with the EDA and West Virginia organizations to bring economic development funding to our state.”

“Improving our economy, revitalizing communities, and creating opportunities for West Virginians has been a top priority of mine since day one,” said Senator Shelley Moore Capito. “The EDA has been a tremendous partner as I’ve worked to make this a reality in West Virginia, and today’s grant announcements are welcome news as we continue our work together to provide needed support to projects across the state. Since 2015 when I first came to the Senate, I’ve prioritized increasing EDA funding for projects in our state that specifically spur economic development. Through my committee placements and strong partnership with EDA, we’ve been successful in increasing West Virginia’s EDA funding 770 percent. I’m thrilled to have EDA here in West Virginia today for this exciting announcement, and I look forward to continuing these efforts in the years to come.”

“The North Central West Virginia Airport is a hub of growth and is helping attract aerospace jobs to diversify our economy,” said Congressman David McKinley (WV-01). “This funding will help support and expand its mission. It will allow the airport to renovate facilities, create jobs, and spur additional private sector investment. This is great news for the entire North Central West Virginia region.”

“The $10.1 million awarded in grants by the U.S. Department of Commerce will help rebuild West Virginia’s infrastructure and create jobs,” said Congressman Alex Mooney (WV-02). “I’m proud to work with the Trump Administration which has made assisting West Virginia a top priority. The grants provided to Putnam County will create jobs by expanding the number of businesses that are able to receive water service.”

The EDA investments announced today are:

  • Huntington Stormwater Utility, Huntington, West Virginia, will receive $5.2 million to protect the downtown business district from future catastrophic flood events by repairing structural damage to the Huntington Floodwall that occurred as a result of severe storms and flooding, and conduct a feasibility study and design process for the further stabilization of rerouting the sewer and storm drain systems. The project, to be located in an Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $1.3 million in local funds and is expected to retain 750 jobs.
  • Benedum Airport Authority, Bridgeport, West Virginia, will receive a $2 million grant to renovate airport facilities to support the growth of the region’s critical aerospace sector. The project, to be matched with $499,000 in local funds, is expected to create 150 jobs, retain 400 jobs, and generate $35 million in private investment.
  • Coalfield Development Corporation, Wayne, West Virginia, will receive a $1.7 million grant to rehabilitate three buildings in downtown Matewan to establish the Pathfinder Center, a job-creation hub and training facility. The project will enable Coalfield to continue to provide education, training, and jobs to unemployed and underemployed people in the region, particularly out-of-work coal miners and others impacted by the reduction of coal production. The project, to be matched with $437,000 in local funds, is expected to create 110 jobs, retain 90 jobs, and generate $6 million in private investment.
  • The Putnam Public Service District, Scott Depot, West Virginia, will receive a $1.2 million grant to upgrade the community’s water capacity to serve area commercial and industrial customers. The EDA grant, to be matched with $1.2 million in local funds, is expected to create 220 jobs, retain more than 780 jobs, and generate $28.4 million in private investment.

The Huntington Stormwater Utility project is located in one of West Virginia’s 55 Opportunity Zones. Created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones are spurring economic development 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 Commerce Department’s work in Opportunity Zones, please visit EDA’s Opportunity Zones webpage. To learn more about the Opportunity Zone program, see the Opportunity Now resources webpage. To learn more about Opportunity Zone best practices, see the recently released White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council Report (PDF) to President Trump.

The Benedum Airport Authority and Coalfield Development Corporation projects will catalyze private investment in a nearby Opportunity Zone.

The Huntington Stormwater Utility project is funded by the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 (Pub. L. 116-20) (PDF), which provided EDA with $600 million in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program (PDF) funds for disaster relief and recovery for areas affected by Hurricanes Florence, Michael, and Lane, Typhoons Yutu and Mangkhut, wildfires, volcanic eruptions, and other major natural disasters occurring in calendar year 2018, and tornadoes and floods occurring in calendar year 2019, under the Robert T. Stafford Act. Please visit EDA’s Disaster Supplemental webpage for more information.

The Benedum Airport Authority, Coalfield Development Corporation, and Putnam Public Service District projects are funded under the Assistance to Coal Communities (ACC) 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.

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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