Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is investing $4.4 million in the state of Tennessee to build critical infrastructure needed to support business growth. The EDA grants, to be matched with more than $2 million in other federal or local funds, are expected to help create or retain nearly 900 jobs and generate $222.2 million in private investment.
With these investments, EDA has invested more than $500 million in Opportunity Zones across the nation since 2018.
“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 Tennessee, diversify the state’s economy, and create new jobs for Tennessee residents. These projects’ location in 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 in distressed communities,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “We are pleased to make these investments to provide critical infrastructure and to develop strategies that will drive private investment to Tennessee Opportunity Zones.”
“This $4.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce will help create more jobs and improve resources in local Tennessee communities, including Baxter, South Pittsburgh and Mountain City,” said Senator Lamar Alexander. “I’m grateful to the Trump Administration for making investments in our state that will strengthen the economy and help Tennessee families.”
“I am thrilled that Mountain City is receiving this grant to invest in their water systems, which will ensure they have the necessary infrastructure to attract and retain good employers and, more importantly, good jobs,” said Congressman Phil Roe (TN-01). “I applaud the First Tennessee Development District for their work, and I thank Secretary Ross and the EDA.”
The EDA investments announced today are:
- The city of Baxter, Tennessee, will receive $1 million to construct crucial water and wastewater systems improvements to the city’s existing sewer system to support the local business community and to attract new businesses, including a major foreign ceramic tile manufacturer, to the region. The project, to be matched with $500,000 in other federal funds and $600,000 in local funds, is expected to create nearly 215 jobs and generate $150 million in private investment. This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Upper Cumberland Development District, which EDA funds 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 city of South Pittsburgh, Tennessee, will receive $1.9 million to construct a liquid natural gas storage and regasification system that will enable Marion County to increase capacity for business growth by providing uninterruptible gas service during peak demand as well as additional service capacity. The project, to be matched with $574,000 in local funds, is expected to create 450 jobs, retain nearly 220 jobs, and generate $72 million in private investment. This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Southeast Tennessee Development District, which EDA funds 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 Mountain City, Tennessee, will receive $1.5 million to diversify the region’s economy by upgrading water lines and wastewater collection system infrastructure to attract new businesses and support the ongoing operations and future expansion of a flooring manufacturing firm and other firms in the area. The project will be matched with $375,600 in local funds, is expected to create or retain 11 jobs and generate $240,000 in private investment. The project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by First Tennessee Development District, which EDA funds 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.
These EDA supported projects are among the more than 370 Opportunity Zone projects EDA has invested in urban and rural communities across the nation since 2018. EDA’s leading role as part of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council (WHORC) has also entailed educating stakeholders about the bureau’s available assets and work to further spur economic development in Opportunity Zones. See EDA’s Opportunity Zones webpage, which includes a comprehensive list of EDA investments made in Opportunity Zones, for more.
The funding announced today will serve some of Tennessee’s 176 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 Town of Mountain City project is being 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.