NEWS: DRA, partners provide funding to support 115 jobs along Arkansas, Louisiana border

February 23, 2017

DRA contributes $100,000 to next phase of multi-year effort

MISSISSIPPI RIVER DELTA REGION – The Delta Regional Authority, through a program partnership with the Economic Development Administration (EDA), today announced $235,000 in new investments that creates a bi-state coordinating council to support 115 jobs in the Arkansas-Louisiana Multimodal Economic Corridor (ArkLaMEC) initiative. The council also will work to add new jobs to the area.

The project has been ongoing for three years and has added 115 jobs in the area. Arkansas counties include Chicot, Desha, Drew, Bradley and Ashley. Louisiana parishes are East Carroll, Madison, West Carroll and Richland.

The council will be made up of public and private sector transportation, agribusiness, and local, regional, and state economic development interests.  The first focus of the council will be to develop a marketing plan and structure for the ArkLaMEC region to connect the multimodal transportation infrastructure to national and international markets. 

Also as part of the effort, the council will develop and market the creation of value added business, industry and jobs in the ArkLaMEC instead of shipping product out of the region to be manufactured elsewhere.  In addition, the council will be used as a convening point for leadership to discuss and address opportunities, issues, and challenges to enhance economic development opportunities. 

The investment also will be used to enhance Mississippi River port operations in Lake Providence, La., and the Madison Parish Port; the Yellow Bend Port on the Arkansas River; and the Port of Crossett on the Ouachita River. Improvements also will be made to U.S. 65, which connects the region north to Little Rock and to Interstate 20 – which connects to the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex region to the west and Atlanta to the east.

The 115 jobs that have been created as a result of this effort are:

  • North Louisiana and Arkansas Railroad, Lake Village, AR – 20 jobs
  • Myriant Chemicals, Lake Providence, LA – 80 jobs
  • Terral River Services, Lake Providence, LA – 15 jobs

“Infrastructure investments are critical to economic development. This is great news for southern Arkansas that will improve the connection between rural communities and businesses beyond the region to help create additional job opportunities and development,” Sen. John Boozman said.

“I am pleased the Delta Regional Authority and EDA will invest $235,000 in the Arkansas-Louisiana Multimodal Economic Corridor initiative,” said U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman. “This is a unique opportunity which will create true economic benefits for years to come. The private sector jobs and investment that will result from these improvements will benefit the entire South Arkansas and Northern Louisiana region.

Both Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson welcomed DRA’s investment. 

“We are so grateful for our partnership with the Delta Regional Authority and the investments they leverage that make significant infrastructure improvements and job creation in Louisiana,” said Gov. Edwards. “Today’s announcement of $235,000 in new investments adding 115 new jobs to the Arkansas-Louisiana border will enhance the Arkansas-Louisiana Multimodal Economic Corridor initiative, the Mississippi River port operations in Lake Providence, La, as well as the quality of life in East Carroll, Madison, West Carroll and Richland Parishes. Again, we are very grateful for their work in this area of our state.”

“DRA’s continued investments in the Arkansas Delta are emblematic of their dedication to the region,” Gov. Hutchinson said. “This investment in the Arkansas-Louisiana Multimodal Economic Corridor will encourage economic development by improving transportation infrastructure in rural southeast Arkansas. I look forward to seeing the positive effects these improvements will have on the Arkansas Delta region.”

These investments are funded by a joint program partnership through EDA’s Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) program. DRA leadership works closely with the governor of each state and his board designee to identify projects to receive investments, which are aligned with state economic development goals. Investments also are guided by EAA’s priorities: collaborative regional innovation, public/private partnerships, national strategic priorities, global competitiveness, environmentally sustainable development and underserved communities.

“DRA’s investment will make significant infrastructure improvements, encourage collaboration in the area, and enhance marketing efforts to help with job creation and economic development,” said DRA Chairman Masingill. “Our primary role at DRA is to facilitate infrastructure improvements that help create jobs and give rural communities opportunities to compete effectively.”
 

About the Delta Regional Authority

The Delta Regional Authority is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives through strategic investments in economic development in 252 counties and parishes across eight states. To date, DRA has invested $163 million into more than 1,000 projects that have attracted total public and private investments of $3.3 billion. Overall, DRA investments have helped create and retain more than 26,000 jobs, train more than 7,200 workers for 21st Century jobs, and deliver water and sewer improvements to more than 64,000 residents. Learn more at dra.gov.

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Media Contact:
Andrew Moreau
202-744-3558
amoreau@dra.gov