NEWS: Delta Regional Authority invests $3.3M to strengthen Louisiana’s economy, infrastructure

October 20, 2017

22 projects attract $9.5 million in total investments

BATON ROUGE, LA. – The Delta Regional Authority and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, together with their federal and local-based partners, today announced $3.3 million in new DRA investments to strengthen Louisiana’s infrastructure, workforce and economy. DRA’s investments will support public and private partnerships and bring a total of $9.5 million in new investments to Louisiana.

“The Delta Regional Authority continues to be a strong and committed partner in moving Louisiana forward,” said Gov. Edwards. “We are very fortunate to be among the select group of states that received this award, which when combined with other public-private partnerships has already more than doubled its impact. This is tremendous, and I want to thank the DRA for investing in projects that will enable our people and our communities to have safe drinking water, expand health care options, and provide access to workforce training and development programs that will ultimately enhance the lives of so many.”   

Seventeen of the investments were made through the DRA States' Economic Development Assistance Program (SEDAP), the agency's main federal funding program that invests in basic public infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, workforce development, and small business and entrepreneurship projects. The other investments were through DRA’s Community Infrastructure Fund (CIF). 

“DRA investments will support infrastructure improvements to deliver clean drinking water and meet sanitary sewer standards in several rural Louisiana communities, support entrepreneurial efforts for minority students, increase community competitiveness, and improve health care in underserved areas,” said Peter Kinder, alternate federal co-chairman of DRA. “These projects will help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives across the Louisiana Delta region. This effort highlights DRA’s ability to build public-private partnerships to invest in the future of the Delta.”

Louisiana is one of eight states to receive DRA investments. The agency’s total investments in the Mississippi River Delta Region and Black Belt of Alabama will reach $20 million in 2017. With contributions from public and private partners, total investments will be $231.6 million.

“This investment in our infrastructure will strengthen our economy and bring good jobs to hard working Louisiana families,” said Dr. Bill Cassidy. “We appreciate the Delta Regional Authority’s continued efforts to grow public and private partnerships to improve our state.”

“As a member of the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations (E&W) Subcommittee, I fought to ensure that Congress would not eliminate the Delta Regional Authority.  DRA is an essential program across the eight-state Mississippi Delta region,” said U.S. Sen. John Kennedy.  “I made sure that this year’s E&W appropriations bill fully funded the DRA and ensured that $10 million of its budget will be used for flood control, basic infrastructure development and transportation improvements.”
 
DRA – LOUISIANA ECONOMIC INVESTMENTS:

  1. TOWN OF COTTON VALLEY: Wastewater Treatment Improvements. DRA Investment: $33,866 (100%). Cotton Valley’s wastewater treatment facility has experienced mechanical failures to key components that allow for proper and effective treatment of wastewater. The town’s existing customers will directly benefit from these improvements by eliminating unsanitary conditions and reducing risks to public health and safety.
  2. TOWN OF BALDWIN: Water System Improvements. DRA Investment: $236,300 (100%). Baldwin, a small town in St. Mary Parish, will make major improvements to its water treatment system to deliver safe and clean drinking water to the town. The system is deteriorating and does not meet state standards. This investment includes $103,634 from SEDAP funds and another $132,666 from the CIF program.
  3. CITY OF DELTA: Sewer Rehabilitation. DRA Investment: $98,700 (100%). This project will prevent unsanitary sewage from backing up into homes. Current conditions cause health problems for residents and are out of compliance with state regulations.
  4. CITY OF JENA: Water System Improvements. DRA Investment: $307,000 (100%). This project is funded through DRA’s CIF program and will resolve emergency conditions to deliver safe and clean drinking water to more than 1,000 residents and businesses on the Nebo Water System. In July, DRA delivered $300,000 in emergency funding to replace a damaged water tank. 
  5. BATON ROUGE: Entrepreneurial Development. DRA Investment: $52,500. Total Investment: $103,378. Research Park Corporation will use DRA funding to help deliver entrepreneurial education to students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Louisiana. These efforts include a software platform, formal mentor network of business and tech professionals, and creation of tech-based business projects.
  6. CITY OF TALLULAH: Add Rail Spur to Enhance Business Expansion. DRA Investment: $200,000. Total Investment: $349,920. The project will construct a new rail spur that will extend the existing spur at the Madison Parish Port Railroad. DRA’S investment will support a business expansion and help create 15 new jobs and retain more than 100 jobs. DRA’s investment includes $100,000 from SEDAP and another $100,000 from the CIF program.
  7. CITY OF DERIDDER: Workforce Training and Development. DRA Investment: $52,500. Total Investment: $55,640. DRA’s investment will support the Greater Beauregard Chamber of Commerce’s efforts to become a Work Ready Community and provide a sustainable regional workforce in the area.
  8. CITY OF NEW ORLEANS: Job Training Improvements. DRA Investment: $200,000. Total Investment: $446,855. Delgado Community College Maritime, Fire, Radar & Industrial Training Facility will use DRA funds to better serve the maritime transportation, petroleum and petrochemical industries and meet new safety standards. The project will result in a completely renovated fire field to meet the future demands of those industries across the Delta.
  9. VILLAGE OF QUITMAN: Wastewater Treatment Improvements. DRA Investment: $206,000. Total Investment: $938,521. Quitman's wastewater treatment plant was severely damaged in a March 2016 flood. This CIF project will close the wastewater lagoon and rock-reed filter and replace it with a package-treatment plant. The village will update the treatment facility to benefit residents, businesses and a school with nearly 1,000 students, facility and staff.
  10. VILLAGE OF GROSSE TÊTE: Sewer Improvements. DRA Investment: $50,411. Total Investment: $99,416. This upgrade will eliminate the continuous cost of repairs spent on older pumps in Grosse Tête. The upgrade will provide the village’s 647 residents with upgraded sewer service and will reduce the risk of sewer backups for homes and businesses.
  11. CITY OF OAK GROVE: Deliver Clean Water for School. DRA Investment: $105,000. Total Investment: $160,000. DRA funding through its CIF program will install new water mains to deliver clean and safe drinking water to Oak Grove High School, which serves 1,200 students.
  12. CITY OF COLFAX: Enhance Business Development. DRA Investment: $154,786. Total Investment: $240,908. The Grant Parish Assessor's Office will update its information systems technology to help strengthen the economic climate for major industry and small businesses. The new system will enhance the profitability and productivity of businesses in the parish.
  13. VILLAGE OF WATERPROOF: Wastewater Treatment Improvements. DRA Investment: $58,928 (100%). This investment will support installation of an automatic gas chlorination system and three new aerators to disinfect discharge at the wastewater treatment plant. Improvements will enhance the quality of life for the 688 residents of Waterproof, 400-500 residents of the Tensas Parish Detention Facility and for all residents effected by the Tensas River watershed.
  14. CITY OF CONVENT: Expand Wastewater Treatment. DRA Investment: $100,000. Total Investment: $167,074. DRA’s CIF investment will support construction of a chlorination building at the West Bank Water Treatment Plant to expand the capacity of the water treatment and distribution system in St. James Parish. This project will have a parish-wide impact and is part of a much larger plan to link the East and West Bank water treatment plants and distribution systems.
  15. CITY OF ARNAUDVILLE: Infrastructure Improvements to Support Area Cultural Initiatives. DRA Investment: $69,668. Total Investment: $79,668. This investment will extend the city’s sewer system to support the NUNU Arts and Culture Collective. Access to this critical infrastructure will improve the sustainability of NUNU by increasing community access to available spaces that could generate rental income to ensure the long-term viability of its programs.  
  16. CITY OF NEW ORLEANS: Install Fiber Network. DRA Investment: $266,555. Total Investment: $586,555. The city plans to build the first segment of an institutional fiber network connecting its primary and secondary data centers at City Hall and Orleans Parish Communications District, its 911 facility. DRA will provide $223,721 from its SEDAP program and $42,834 from CIF. Lessons learned from the post-Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts emphasize the need for economic, social, and digital resilience. Strengthened digital infrastructure and the resulting improvements in data collection and analysis are key components in the city’s workforce development, economic and community development, resilience and crime reduction initiatives.
  17. CITY OF FRANKLIN: Infrastructure Improvements. DRA Investment: $155,500. Total Investment: $410,735. The project involves the elevation of Cote Blanche Crossing, raising the road by 2 feet, from a levee running parallel to LA Highway 83 to the ferry landing at the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The road is typically shut down several days throughout the year due to high water from excessive rain and impairs operation of a business.
  18. CITY OF TALLULAH: Provide Clean and Safe Drinking Water. DRA Investment: $150,000. Total Investment: $400,000. This emergency project will assist in repairing the water system of Tallulah and help provide clean and safe drinking water for residents.
  19. CITY OF NAPOLEONVILLE: Disaster Recovery Resiliency. DRA Investment: $115,100 (100%). Assumption Parish will use DRA funds to purchase an air curtain burner to dispose of vegetative debris following severe storm events. The air burners will provide a more sustainable and environmentally safe and fast method to remove the debris. 
  20. CITY OF FRANKLIN: Expanded Health Care. DRA Investment: $200,000. Total Investment: $1,200,000. DRA funds will be used to renovate a building that will be used to expand and provide additional health care services in the Pierre Part area of Assumption Parish.
  21. VILLAGE OF MAURICE: Water System Improvements. DRA Investment: $256,500. Total Investment: $4,101,500. This CIF project will improve the water distribution system and water treatment system to accommodate the rapid rate of growth that is occurring in the area and enhance opportunities for business expansion.
  22. BATON ROUGE: Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) Expansion. DRA Investment: $250,000 (100%).  The Louisiana Workforce Commission is seeking to expand the JAG program in Louisiana from 69 programs to 101, with an emphasis on assisting students with disabilities in the state of Louisiana. The program promotes collaboration between school districts, colleges and local businesses to provide career courses and workplace experiences to high school students.

“I appreciate the DRA for investing well over $1 million in infrastructure investments for communities throughout the 5th Congressional District,” said U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham. “These projects will help deliver clean water, stimulate economic development and create jobs. I look forward to continuing to work with the DRA on ways we can further enhance our Delta communities in the future.”

“These investments in our infrastructure bring critical projects to fruition, especially for our rural communities,” said U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins. “Making our communities more resilient with safe and modern infrastructure systems creates jobs and drives economic growth.” 

“Since coming to Congress, I have continually emphasized the importance of maintaining Louisiana’s infrastructure systems. These actions support not only our state, but contribute to the nation as a whole,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson. “I am especially glad Louisiana’s Fourth District will directly receive some of these investments. I look forward to seeing the many benefits the program will provide in the years to come.”

“These grants by the Delta Regional Authority are going to allow local partners to carry out important work,” said U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond. “These grants will expand important job training programs to help Louisiana residents learn skills that high-tech and good-paying  jobs in the area require. Getting students at HBCUs more resources to learn about tech, students at Delgado better facilities to train for maritime and other local industries, and students across the state with disabilities better support are all good investments that will grow our economy and strengthen our state." 

DRA coordinates directly with Louisiana’s planning and development districts for program funding implementation. In addition, the agency works closely with Gov. Edwards and his board designee to identify projects to receive SEDAP investments, which are aligned with state economic development goals. These federal investments require a minimal investment of state funds that can bring a large return in DRA and other agency funding and result in a greater economic impact for the Delta region of Louisiana. 


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, the DRA’s SEDAP investments, together with its state and local partners, have leveraged more than $3.7 billion in public and private investment into local small business owners, entrepreneurs, workers, and infrastructure development projects. These investments have helped create or retain more than 37,000 jobs, trained more than 7,300 workers for 21st Century jobs and provided water and sewer service to more than 66,000 residents since DRA was established. Learn more at dra.gov.

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