Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2 million grant to the city of Jonesboro, Arkansas, to make rail infrastructure improvements needed to support the expansion of the Jonesboro Industrial Park. The EDA grant, to be located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $500,000 in local funds and is expected to help create 125 jobs and retain 405 jobs.
“Providing the infrastructure businesses need to be successful is a top priority for President Trump,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This rail expansion will equip Jonesboro with the necessary infrastructure to accelerate business growth at the Industrial Park and surrounding commercial areas, and the project’s location in an Opportunity Zone will further enhance the region’s economy.”
“The increased rail capacity that this EDA investment supports will enable existing and new tenants at the Jonesboro Industrial Park to increase their production and quickly move goods to market,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “In addition, the project’s location in an Opportunity Zone will build upon the park’s success in attracting new companies and additional private investment to the region.”
“Jonesboro is a regional economic hub, and this investment in the industrial park’s rail infrastructure will expand the ability to distribute products more quickly and efficiently,” said Senator John Boozman. “This project will create and retain jobs, increase productivity and encourage further growth in a designated Opportunity Zone. I’m proud to have supported this request and appreciate the EDA recognizing the value of infrastructure improvement.”
This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the East Arkansas Planning and Development District, which EDA funds 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.
The funding announced today goes to one of Arkansas’ 85 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.
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.