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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce to Invest $1.2 Million to Support Growth of Aerospace Sector Near Charleston, West Virginia, Opportunity Zone

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.2 million grant to the Central West Virginia Regional Airport Authority, Charleston, West Virginia, to make infrastructure improvements needed to support the growth of aerospace businesses at the Yeager Aviation Business Park. The EDA grant, to be located near a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $304,966 in local funds and is expected to create 118 jobs.

“President Trump is working diligently every day to help improve our country’s infrastructure so we can facilitate more job creation and success,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The improvements to be made at the Yeager Aviation Business Park will grow West Virginia’s critical aerospace sector and the project’s location near an Opportunity Zone will attract additional investment to the region.”

“The Economic Development Administration is pleased to support this locally-developed strategy to grow West Virginia’s aerospace sector by increasing capacity at the Yeager Aviation Business Park,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “The sewer and apron improvements will encourage business expansion and attraction, directly support Marshal University’s new pilot certification school, and provide important job training opportunities for West Virginians. The nearby Opportunity Zone will further economic transformation.

“I am pleased with the EDA’s continued investment in West Virginia through economic development projects across the state,” said Senator Joe Manchin. “In 2018, I helped secure funding through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to extend Eagle Mountain Road and expand development opportunities at the airport. The sewer line is the final piece of the puzzle and it’s critical for the development of the Marshall University Bill Noe Flight School based at the airport. I’ve seen firsthand the impact this school will have on the region and it was apparent that construction on the sewer line was vital to meeting the school’s intended start date. I explained the importance of this award to the EDA, and I’m pleased to see this is one of the first awards from the new fiscal year. I know we will see the benefits of this investment for years to come.”

“Having access to a variety of transportation options—including air travel—is critical to economic development and the day-to-day lives of West Virginians,” said Senator Shelley Moore Capito. “That’s why it’s important we continue to make necessary improvements so we can increase efficiency and enhance infrastructure at airports throughout our communities. This EDA funding is welcome news for our state and will hopefully result in attracting even more development in the nearby Opportunity Zone.”

“I’m glad a $1.2 million grant has been awarded to the Yeager Airport in Charleston,” said Congressman Alex Mooney (WV-02). “This critical infrastructure project will expand the capacity of the aerospace sector in West Virginia. President Trump is committed to job creation, economic growth and innovative excellence.”

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 under the Assistance to Coal Communities (ACC) program, through which EDA awards funds on a competitive basis to assist communities severely impacted by the declining use of coal through activities and programs that support economic diversification, job creation, capital investment, workforce development, and re-employment opportunities.

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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