U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $2.5M to Boost Business & Export Opportunities in Granite City, Illinois, Opportunity Zone

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross recently announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2.5million grant to America’s Central Port District, formerly known as Tri-City Regional Port District, Granite City, Illinois, to make storage-based infrastructure improvements needed to increase the Port’s capacity to handle freight and boost export opportunities. The EDA grant, to be located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $1.1 million in local funds and is expected to create or retain nearly 165 jobs and generate $3.5 million in private investment.

“The Trump Administration is committed to helping American businesses grow through exports,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This project will enhance America’s Central Port District’s ability to handle more freight and boost economic opportunities, and the project’s location in an Opportunity Zone will drive additional public and private investment to the region.”

“America’s Central Port District has seen an increase in traffic since opening in 2016,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This EDA project will help the port build two new agriculture product storage bins and a conveyor system at an existing terminal facility to increase its export capacity. Its location in an Opportunity Zone will attract additional investment needed to diversify and further grow the region’s economy.”

“Every year, millions of tons of cargo are shipped along the Mississippi River, including through ports like America’s Central Port in Southern Illinois,” said Congressman Mike Bost (IL-12). “This critical investment builds upon previous grants to improve and strengthen their infrastructure to increase marine commerce even more. The result will be expanded operations and more jobs for the Metro East region, and reflects strong support for investment in the community through Opportunity Zones.” 

The funding announced today goes to one of Illinois’ 327 Opportunity Zones. 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 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.

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