Eligibility & Funding Priorities

Entities that are eligible to apply for DRA funding include:

  • state and local governments  (state agencies, city and county/parish);
  • public bodies; and
  • non-profit entities.

All eligible applicants must be applying for projects that operate in or are serving residents and communities within the 252 counties and parishes of the DRA footprint.

***For-profit entities, while not eligible to apply directly, are a key component of economic development and, in many circumstances, the ultimate beneficiary of the project funding. They can be a partner within a project but cannot serve as the lead applicant for SEDAP funding nor receive federal funding through a pass-through relationship.

***Eligible entities owing any type of federal bad debt are precluded from applying for DRA funding until such time as the federal bad debt is paid in full. Should a scenario arise where a federal bad debt is incurred after a DRA award has been made, any disbursement of grant funds will be swept by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and applied toward the debt. In this circumstance no further DRA funds would be disbursed and the grantee would be responsible for repaying these grant funds to the DRA.

Once deemed eligible, priority for project funding is determined by whether the county or parish is deemed distressed, the Federal Priority Declarations, the DRA Regional Development Plan Goals listed below, and each state’s DRA Strategic Plan Priorities as listed in the state’s economic development plan.

The 2022 SEDAP manual, including eligibility and priority notes, can provide further information for parties interested in applying for funding in the 2022 cycle.

Federal Priority Criteria

In order to elevate any project to “priority” status, applicants must also clearly demonstrate how the project would meet at least one of the Federal Priority Eligibility Criteria (described below), at least one of the DRA Regional Development Plan goals, and at least one of the State’s DRA Strategic Plan priorities.

  • Innovation and Small Business – Projects that include business and industry prospects committed to creating, retaining or maintaining jobs, through the execution of a DRA Participation Agreement.  The Participation Agreement is a common “claw-back” instrument used in economic development to guarantee outcomes.  As stewards of public resources, it is advantageous to provide outcome metrics which are validated through the protection this document provides. 
  • Regional Impact – Projects that provide benefit to constituents in multiple counties or parishes, or multiple municipalities within a single county or parish.  Applications for regional water and/or waste water systems will be considered more competitive than stand-alone municipal systems.
  • Multiple Funding Partners – Applications for projects which include multiple funding sources (both public and/or private) and significantly leverage DRA dollars to other federal or non-federal dollars will be considered more competitive than applications which only include DRA funding or minimal investment leverage.
  • Emergency Funding Need – Projects that can clearly demonstrate, but for DRA funding, the negative implications of inaction would result in immediate and detrimental health and/or safety issues for the constituents served.  Projects posing an immediate health or safety risk which have already met at least one of the four funding categories (listed above) will be considered for funding ahead of all other applications.  Sufficient documentation must be provided from the appropriate state or federal agency (DEQ, EPA, etc.), specifically stating the cause or reason for the issue and the agency’s concurrence that an immediate health or safety concern exits.
  • Registered Apprenticeship – Projects supporting Registered Apprenticeship (RA) programs and sustainable career pathways with partners at the local, regional, and statewide levels will be considered a federal priority.
  • Infrastructure – DRA is congressionally mandated to expend 50% of its appropriated SEDAP dollars on Basic Public and Transportation Infrastructure projects.  Projects which fall within these categories and include a direct connection to active economic development activities will receive full consideration.
  • Merging and Consolidating Public Utilities – Applications which describe connecting or merging systems, sharing resources and eliminating unmanageable utility services will receive full consideration.
  • Broadband Infrastructure – Sustainable, public projects which serve to increase local access to high speed wired or wireless internet will be considered a federal priority.
  • Water or Wastewater Rate Study – For Basic Public Infrastructure project applications (water and wastewater), additional consideration will be given to projects which include evidence of an accredited rate study (i.e. studies based on American Water Works Association (AWWA M1 Principles of Water Rates and/or AWWA M54 Developing Rates for Small Systems)) having been completed within the past three years and showing progress made toward implementation. 

Regional Development Plan Goals

An important component of successful applications is alignment with the DRA's regional development goals, objectives, and strategies. A complete listing of the objectives and strategies listed under each of the three goals below can be found in the DRA Regional Development Plan III (RDPIII), updated in April 2016. The following list provides a summary of the RDPIII objectives:

  • GOAL 1. IMPROVED WORKFORCE COMPETITIVENESS: Advance the productivity and economic competitiveness of the Delta workforce.
  • GOAL 2. STRENGTHENED INFRASTRUCTURE: Strengthen the Delta’s physical, digital, and capital connections to the global economy.
  • GOAL 3. INCREASED COMMUNITY CAPACITY: Facilitate local capacity building within Delta communities, organizations, and businesses.

Each state plan is designed to dovetail into the DRA's Regional Development Plan and is reviewed and revised with each new administration or ever five years. Please refer to the state strategic economic development plans here.