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About DRA

The Delta Regional Authority works to improve life for the 10 million people who reside in the 252 Delta counties and parishes in parts of eight states. Led by the Delta Regional Authority Board comprised of the Federal Co-Chairman, appointed by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and the governors of the eight states, the Delta Regional Authority fosters partnerships throughout the region as it works to improve the Delta economy. 

In 2000, Congress established the Delta Regional Authority to enhance economic development and improve the quality of life for the hard-working residents of the Delta region.  With investments from the States’ Economic Development Assistance Program to improve transportation and basic infrastructure and to strengthen our workforce and business environment, the Delta Regional Authority supports job creation and retention. Initiatives such as the Healthy Delta Initiative and Delta Leadership Institute ensure that Delta communities are healthy and positioned for growth in the 21st century.  

The 252 counties and parishes served by the Delta Regional Authority make up the most distressed area of the country. The disparities between the Delta region and the nation as a whole are stark. As defined by the Economic Development Administration, 80 percent of the counties and parishes in the region are distressed: 

  • Life expectancy for men and women in every county and parish of the Delta region is below the national average;
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, when unemployment spiked across the nation in November 2010, the number of those out of jobs in rural counties was twice that of the national average;
  • 96% of the 252 counties and parishes served have per capita income levels at or below the national average;
  • The rate of persistent poverty in the region is 370 percent higher than the national rate;
  • Compared with the national rates, deaths in the Delta from circulatory diseases are 16 percent higher, deaths from cancer are 12 percent higher and deaths from accidents are 39 percent higher; and
  • More than 32 percent of adults in the Delta report that they are obese (compared to 26 percent in non-Delta counties) and almost 12 percent report that they have Diabetes (compared to 8.9 percent in non-Delta counties).

Devastating statistics such as these are what led Congress to create the Delta Regional Authority in 2000 after years of commissions, task forces, and study groups. The time for studies was over. The time for action had arrived.

Creating Jobs.

Since its creation thirteen years ago, the Delta Regional Authority has worked to improve the lives of the 10 million people who live in the Delta. Targeted investments in each of the eight states have created over 9,000 jobs and retained more than 7,500 jobs. Through the States' Economic Development Assistance Program and Rural Community Advancement Program, DRA supports business incubators, job training and workforce development programs, and infrastructure and industrial development to attract new business investments, all of which increase the opportunities for high-skill jobs for Delta residents. 

Building Communities.

With a leverage ratio of 22:1, the Delta Regional Authority leveraged $1.7 billion in private investment with DRA projects over 12 cycles that have touched nearly every county and parish in the Delta. The Delta Regional Authority forges partnerships throughout the region as well as with federal family of agencies, bringing national investment and opportunities to the Region. Local development districts are key partners and serve as front-line project developers with community and economic leaders. DRA also utilizes strategic partnerships with U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development offices in the region, state economic development departments, local small business development centers, the U.S. Economic Development Administration, U.S. Small Business Administration, and other federal agencies. 

Improving Lives.

Through numerous policy initiatives, the Authority is investing in programs that better the health, accessibility, connectivity, and educational opportunities for Delta residents of all ages. Over twelve funding cycles has trained 3,745 individuals and helped 25,500 families gain access to clean water and sewer service. The Delta Leadership Institute, Healthy Delta Initiative, and other programs are helping to improve the leadership, health outcomes, and quality of life for people in the Delta.


Federal Co-Chairman Masingill and the eight governors, including States’ Co-Chairman Governor Nixon, provide strategic economic development investment in the Delta region’s communities, families, and businesses, consistently striving to bring outside investment, attention, and development to create jobs, build communities, and improve lives in the Delta region. 

View the DRA 2012 Year in Review

View the DRA's FY2014 Budget Justification Report