NEWS: DRA opens investment application period, launches new infrastructure fund for communities
May 05, 2016
CLARKSDALE, Miss.—The Delta Regional Authority today launched the 2016 application cycle for $20 million of investments through its States’ Economic Development Assistance Program (SEDAP) and a new funding program, the Community Infrastructure Fund (CIF), to better support the local infrastructure, workforce, and small businesses of Delta communities.
“As we continue to recognize the importance of strong physical, digital, and human infrastructure to the economic development of Delta communities, these two investment tools are integral to further addressing community and regional needs for economic growth,” said DRA federal co-chairman Chris Masingill.
SEDAP, the primary investment tool for DRA, is entering its fifteenth cycle of funding and makes available more than $10 million for basic public infrastructure, workforce development, transportation infrastructure, and small business and entrepreneurship development in Delta communities. Organizations and communities interested in applying can learn more and begin their application at www.dra.gov/sedap.
To date, the DRA’s SEDAP investments, together with its state and local partners, have leveraged $138 million in federal resources into $3 billion in public and private investment in local small business owners and entrepreneurs, workers, and infrastructure development projects. Since the DRA was established, these investments have helped to create or retain more than 26,000 jobs, trained 7,200 workers with skills for a 21st century workforce, and connected nearly 65,000 families to clean and safe water and sewer services.
This year, the DRA updated its Regional Development Plan, which serves as the strategic plan for the agency and outlines clear goals for the region’s economic development. RDPIII, the third such plan written since the agency’s creation, will guide the agency’s investments, policy priorities, and stakeholder engagement for the next five years. With the guiding principles of collaboration, leadership, and innovation, the plan solidifies the agency’s goals of improving workforce competitiveness, strengthening infrastructure, and increasing community capacity. The plan is available online at www.dra.gov/rdp3.
“Our regional development plan and the public engagement we conducted to draft the plan further emphasize the importance that these strategic investments have in our communities, both rural and urban,” Masingill said. “These funding pathways and our priorities for these investments reflect the priorities that came directly from our stakeholders and residents throughout the Delta region.”
The DRA is also launching the Community Infrastructure Fund to invest an additional $10 million in flood control, basic public infrastructure, and local transportation improvements that provide local and regional value to Delta communities. CIF provides an opportunity for DRA to make even more investments into local infrastructure projects that directly impact economic development prospects and immediate community needs.
Communities and organizations are encouraged to work with their local development district, which have staff members trained by the DRA to assist applicants through the application process, as well as their respective regional economic and community development officer.
Information on state-specific funding allocations, funding program eligibility requirements and guidelines, and contact information for local development districts are available at www.dra.gov/funding-programs.
About the Delta Regional Authority
The DRA is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives through strategic investments in economic development in 252 counties and parishes across eight states. These investments target public infrastructure, workforce development, small businesses and entrepreneurs, local transportation infrastructure, access to healthcare, and disaster recovery and resilience. Learn more at dra.gov.