EDA: $15.67 Million Invested to Provide Critical Water Infrastructure Near South Carolina Opportunity Zone

Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $15.67 million grant to the city of Walterboro, South Carolina, to make critical water infrastructure improvements needed to protect businesses from severe weather events. The EDA grant, to be located near an Opportunity Zone matched with $3.9 million in local investment, is expected to create 360 jobs and spur $70 million in private investment.

“The Trump Administration is working hard to fulfill our commitments to rebuild infrastructure in areas of South Carolina that have been greatly impacted by natural disasters,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The improved infrastructure will protect established businesses in and around Walterboro from future severe weather events and attract new businesses to the region.”

“This investment will expand and improve the city’s wastewater treatment plant by providing the vital infrastructure needed to sustain the region’s long-term economy,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “The new water infrastructure facility will serve existing and new businesses in the region and protect against damage from future severe weather.”

This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Lowcountry Economic Development District. EDA funds the Lowcountry Economic 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 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 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.

The funding announced today will help catalyze private investment in a nearby Opportunity Zone. 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 initiative, see the Opportunity Now resources page here.

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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