U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $3.3 Million to Rebuild Airport Hangar Buildings Damaged by Hurricanes Florence and Dorian Near Opportunity Zone in Carteret County, North Carolina
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a nearly $3.3 million grant to the Carteret County-Beaufort Airport Authority, Beaufort, North Carolina, to rebuild airport hangar buildings damaged and destroyed by Hurricanes Florence and Dorian. The EDA grant, to be located near a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $821,950 in local funds and is expected to create 65 jobs and spur $25.6 million in private investment.
“The Trump Administration is committed to helping communities impacted by natural disasters, including those near Opportunity Zones, rebound and recover as quickly as possible,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “Rebuilding the hangars at the Michael J. Smith Field Airport will return the facility to its role as a critical economic driver for the region.”
“The new hangar facilities to be built at the Michael J. Smith Field Airport will make the region more economically resilient in the face of future natural disasters,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “EDA is pleased to partner with the Carteret County-Beaufort Airport Authority to strengthen the airport’s ability to support a wide array of regional economic development activities near an Opportunity Zone.”
“We're working to rebuild infrastructure and transportation systems smarter and stronger after severe storms, and this funding is another critical step in rebuilding Carteret County's resilient economy,” said Governor Roy Cooper.
“Following Hurricanes Florence and Dorian, I fought hard to include EDA disaster relief funding for North Carolina to ensure communities across the eastern part of the state would have the resources needed to rebuild,” said Senator Thom Tillis. “These storms caused considerable damage to the Michael J. Smith Airport, and I’m proud these funds awarded today will rebuild the airport infrastructure that was destroyed and spur much needed economic investment in Eastern North Carolina.”
“Obviously in eastern North Carolina, we are severely impacted by hurricanes and tropical storms. Supporting commerce and tourism are so critical to our district,” said Congressman Greg Murphy, M.D. (NC-03). “I am ecstatic that we are receiving this grant to help rebuild infrastructure needs as a result of Hurricanes Florence and Dorian. I thank Secretary Ross and President Trump for providing this much needed funding.”
This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Eastern Carolina Council of Governments, 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 help catalyze private investment in a nearby Opportunity Zone. Created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity 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.
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 (PDF) 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. 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.