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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $1.9 Million to Make Port Harbor Improvements Near Pemiscot County, Missouri, Opportunity Zone

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.9 million grant to the Pemiscot County Port Authority, Caruthersville, Missouri, to make port harbor improvements needed to protect against future flooding and encourage additional business development. The EDA grant, to be located near a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $207,943 in local funds, and is expected to create more than 60 jobs and generate $11 million in private investment.

“The Trump Administration is committed to helping American communities impacted by natural disasters obtain the modern infrastructure they need to support business attraction and growth,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This project will provide Pemiscot County with infrastructure to create disaster-resilient port facilities and spur business expansion to this critical regional asset, and the project’s location near an Opportunity Zone will attract additional investment.”

“Three separate flooding incidences in 2017 and 2019 severely impacted Pemiscot County,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This project will elevate the land to add flood mitigation infrastructure, create a new road, increase the capacity of existing businesses, and allow for future port expansion. This project’s proximity to a nearby Opportunity Zone designation will further transform the community.”

“We have felt the devastating impacts of flooding here in Missouri, and we know how important a reliable infrastructure is to businesses development,” said Governor Mike Parson. “This project will not only strengthen Pemiscot County’s flood protection infrastructure but also help generate business expansion and economic growth in the region.”

“The Pemiscot County Port is an important part of the local economy and our state’s water transportation network,” said Senator Roy Blunt. “This investment will support jobs, reduce flooding, and create a better foundation for long-term economic growth in the region. I appreciate the administration for supporting this project that will help the community compete and succeed.”

“This investment will provide critical infrastructure in Pemiscot County to protect small businesses and working families from intense flooding in the future and boost economic resilience in the local economy for years to come,” said Senator Josh Hawley. “I will continue to work with the administration to help bring back jobs we have lost overseas and ensure our communities across the state are protected from severe weather conditions.”

“Farmers across Southern Missouri depend on the Pemiscot County Port to get their goods to market,” said Congressman Jason Smith (MO-08). “This investment will ensure the viability of the port by protecting against future floods and increase the port’s ability to compete for greater business opportunities creating jobs. Investment in flood control is essential for communities that live and work along the Mississippi River. I want to thank President Trump and his administration for their continued commitment to infrastructure investment in rural Missouri.”

This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Bootheel Regional Planning and Economic Development Commission 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 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 (PDF) 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) 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. Please visit EDA’s Disaster Supplemental webpage for more information.

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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