Washington, D.C. – The Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $5.6 million grant to Lycoming County, Pa., to prevent flooding by repairing a structurally unsound I-wall located within the Northeast levee in Williamsport. The U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced the grant Monday.
The EDA grant, to be located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act designated Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $1.4 million in local investment and is expected to create 240 jobs, retain 1,300 jobs, and generate $425 million in private investment.
“This investment will help repair a series of critical steel-reinforced wall panels that aide in preventing catastrophic flooding in Williamsport’s economic epicenter, one of Pennsylvania’s Opportunity Zones,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Dr. John Fleming. “Disaster-resilient infrastructure is a key component to sustain local economies in the event of severe weather.”
“The greater Williamsport area has been working for years on flood protection measures to better safeguard the community,” said Senator Pat Toomey. “This grant will help modernize and improve the Greater Williamsport Levee to protect Williamsport’s bustling economy that supports thousands of jobs in the downtown business district."
Toomey continued, "It will also give confidence to businesses and industry wanting to expand operations in Williamsport. I was glad to support Lycoming County’s application for this grant, and am pleased the U.S. Department of Commerce saw fit to award it to this deserving community.”
“I thank the Economic Development Administration for awarding this grant to help upgrade critical components of the Greater Williamsport Levee,” said Congressman Fred Keller (PA-12). “This sizeable grant, coupled with investments from state and local stakeholders, will help protect the nearly 120,000 people living in the greater Williamsport area and the area’s regional economic assets. I look forward to continuing to work with federal, state, and local partners to continue to ensure the Levee upgrade project has the funding it needs as the project continues to move ahead.”
This project is funded by the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 (Pub. L. 116-20), 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.
The funding announced today goes to a designated Opportunity Zone, created by President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to spur economic development by giving tax incentives to investors 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.
This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the SEDA-Council of Governments (COG). EDA funds the SEDA-COG 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.