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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests in Critical Railroad Infrastructure Needed to Serve Businesses in Missouri Opportunity Zone

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.5 million grant to the Southeast Missouri Regional Port Authority of Scott City, Missouri, to make infrastructure improvements. The grant, to be located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act designated Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $382,000 in local investment and is expected to help generate $9.6 million in private investment.

“The Trump Administration is working diligently to rebuild our nation’s crumbling infrastructure,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This project will revitalize the local railroad infrastructure, enabling the free flow of goods to and from the Port.”

“This project will improve the reliability of the railroad infrastructure during flooding events by helping the Southeast Missouri Regional Port Authority raise and improve track and revitalize a bridge structure,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Dr. John Fleming. “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone designation will further incentives businesses to invest in the area and develop the local economy.”

“Missouri has been heavily impacted by flooding, and we know how important a strong infrastructure is to recovering from the devastation and strengthening our economy,” said Governor Mike Parson. “These funds will help ensure the Southeast Missouri Regional Port Authority has the framework for access and economic growth going forward, building on the major progress we’ve made to rebuild our state’s infrastructure.”

“Location is one of our state’s greatest competitive advantages and improving our railway system is critical to maintaining that competitive edge,” said Senator Roy Blunt. “This investment will help support stronger growth and economic development in one of our state’s Opportunity Zones. I appreciate Secretary Ross and the Trump Administration making this project a priority and look forward to continuing to work together to strengthen our state’s infrastructure.”

“This investment in critical railroad infrastructure is great news for the hardworking families and businesses of Southeast Missouri,” said Senator Hawley. “I am grateful to the Trump Administration for its continued support of the bootheel and the entire state of Missouri.”

“I was honored last year to join Senator Blunt and numerous local officials and community members in working to secure the initial SEMO Port grant,” said Congressman Jason Smith. “It is great to see the Department of Commerce supporting last year’s grant with these additional resources to better our infrastructure in southeast Missouri. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act I co-authored with my colleagues on the Ways & Means Committee and President Trump created a roadmap for areas of our country in need of critical investments to improve the economic environment for our farmers, ranchers, and job creators. I am glad to see important federal resources are beginning to flow to these areas to provide more opportunities for southern Missouri.”

This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Southeast Missouri Regional Planning Commission (SMEO RPC). EDA funds the SMEO RPC 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.

This project is funded under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (PL 115-123) (PDF) (PDF), in which Congress appropriated to EDA $600 million in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program (PDF) funds for disaster relief and recovery as a result of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, wildfires, and other calendar year 2017 natural disasters under the Stafford Act.

The funding announced today goes to a designated Opportunity Zone, created by President Donald J. 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. To learn more about the Opportunity Zone program, see the Treasury Department resources page here. To learn more about the Commerce Department’s work in Opportunity Zones, please visit EDA’s Opportunity Zones webpage.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (
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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