EDA: $6 Million Invested to Make Disaster Resilient Infrastructure Improvemenst Near Opportunity Zone in Lexington, MO

Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $6 million grant to the city of Lexington, Missouri, to make critical water infrastructure improvements needed to protect businesses from future severe weather events. The EDA grant, to be located near a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $4.3 million in local funds and is expected to retain 80 jobs.

“The Trump Administration continues to work diligently to rebuild and protect communities devastated by natural disasters,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The enhanced water infrastructure to be constructed south of the Missouri river will protect Lexington businesses and jobs and make the region more resilient to future natural disasters. The project’s location near an Opportunity Zone will drive further private investment into the region.”

“This project will construct a new well field and water treatment facility to allow businesses to continue to operate in the face of future high-water events,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This strengthens the economic resilience of the region, and the project’s location near an Opportunity Zone will attract new businesses that will diversify the region’s economy.”

“Missouri has been severely impacted by historic flooding and natural disasters in recent years, and we know how important a strong infrastructure is to recovering from these events,” said Governor Mike Parson. “This grant will not only help us continue to strengthen Missouri’s flood protection infrastructure and keep our communities safe but also grow and strengthen our economy.”

“Protecting businesses from disaster-related damages or closures is critical for jobs and the local economy,” said Senator Roy Blunt. “I appreciate the Pioneer Trails Regional Planning Commission’s efforts on this project and the support of the Economic Development Administration. This investment, in close proximity to an Opportunity Zone, will help create an environment that encourages stronger economic development in the area.”

“The investment in Lexington, Missouri will build and protect critical infrastructure to help families and small businesses thrive regardless of weather conditions,” said Senator Josh Hawley. “Having grown up in Lexington, I know first-hand that these resources are vital for the good men and women that call it home. I am grateful for the administration’s diligent work to improve safety, protect jobs, and boost resiliency in the local economy.”

“The people of Lexington have faced severe flooding events in recent years that have been catastrophic to the community,” said Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05). “With this funding, the city will now have the ability to build a new water treatment facility and protective infrastructure to ensure the people of Lexington have clean, reliable drinking water no matter the weather conditions. This will not only benefit the people of Lexington, but will also incentivize further investment and economic activity in the community. That’s what I like to call a win-win.”

This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Pioneer Trails Regional Planning Commission, 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 funding announced today will catalyze private investment in a nearby Opportunity Zone. Created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017Opportunity 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.

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 Act. Please visit EDA’s Disaster Supplemental webpage for more information.

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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