NEWS: Delta Regional Authority invests $2.9M to strengthen Tennessee’s economy, infrastructure

October 03, 2017

9 projects attract $125 million in total investments

NASHVILLE, TN. – The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, together with their federal and local-based partners, today announced $2.9 million in new DRA investments to strengthen Tennessee’s infrastructure, workforce, and economy. DRA’s investments will support public and private partnerships and bring a total of $125 million in new investments to Tennessee.

“We are happy to announce that Tennessee will be receiving $2.9 million in new DRA investments,” Tennessee Economic Development Council Deputy Commissioner & Chief Operating Officer Ted Townsend said. “DRA’s investments will help support 9 projects that will strengthen our state’s infrastructure, grow our economy and make Tennessee a better place to live and work. I want to thank DRA for its continued support for Tennessee and look forward to our future partnership.”

Seven 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 two projects are supported through DRA’s Community Infrastructure Fund (CIF).  

“The Delta Regional Authority’s decision to invest more than $2.9 million in federal funding for projects in West Tennessee will help create more good jobs, support training to give workers the skills that they need, and improve basic infrastructure that will help bring new employers to West Tennessee and encourage our existing employers to expand,” said U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander.  "I congratulate Gov. Haslam on today’s news, which will help many West Tennesseans.”

“For nearly 17 years, Delta Regional Authority and its partners have played a role in providing job opportunities for hardworking West Tennesseans,” said U.S. Sen. Bob Corker. “I am pleased these investments will advance our state’s economy, and I applaud DRA’s and Governor Haslam’s commitment to strengthen the Volunteer State’s infrastructure.”

Tennessee 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.

“DRA investments will support infrastructure improvements, support business growth and expansion, enhance entrepreneurial efforts and help create and retain jobs in distressed communities,” said Peter Kinder, alternate federal co-chairman of DRA. “These nine projects will help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives in Memphis and rural areas of Tennessee. This effort highlights DRA’s ability to build public-private partnerships to invest in the future of the Delta region.”


  1. CITY OF TOONE: Transportation Infrastructure Improvement. DRA Investment: $750,000. Total Investment: $62,750,000. This project is funded through DRA’s CIF program and will support the widening of Kilgore Road to support a business expansion. The project will help with the retention of 200 jobs and the creation of 50 new jobs.
  2. MEMPHIS: Workforce Training. DRA Investment: $200,000. Total Investment: $390,000. This project will support workforce training at The Boilermakers and Welding Institute, which is a regional training academy utilizing the latest advanced technology to train craftsmen, offer national credentials and provide career placement. The institute will use the funding to buy state-of-the-art equipment, software, tools and supplies to train workers. This project will develop highly trained and certified boilermakers and welders utilizing the latest technologies to respond to the growing labor market demand for skilled craftsmen.
  3. UNION CITY: Support Business Expansion and Job Creation. DRA Investment: $300,000. Total Investment: $30,300,000. This investment will create more than 200 jobs for residents in Obion, Lake and Weakley counties. A water line extension will provide water pressure adequate enough for fire suppression and allow proper cleaning of food processing machines for a business that is planning an expansion in the Northwest Tennessee Regional Industrial Center.  
  4. CITY OF PIPERTON: Water and Sanitary Sewer Improvements. DRA Investment: $200,000. Total Investment: $19,154,517. DRA’s investment will support extending sanitary sewer service to Piperton's west side to accommodate a new industrial development. The improvements will allow a business to set up operations in Piperton and create future economic development opportunities in the western part of the city.
  5. MEMPHIS: Support for Entrepreneurial Companies. DRA Investment: $125,000. Total Investment: $1,040,000. This project will provide funding for efforts focusing on net-job creation from high-growth entrepreneurial companies that have been in business for under five years. This work contributes to the start-up ecosystem being built in the Memphis region.
  6. CITY OF MOSCOW: Water Treatment Plant Improvements. DRA Investment: $200,000. Total Investment: $252,300. These improvements will bring the city’s water treatment plant in compliance with the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation’s recommendations. The city has insufficient funds to make the improvements and will rely on DRA’s investment to benefit all 216 residential water customers, of which 83% are low to moderate income.
  7. CITY OF BELLS: Workforce Training Initiative. DRA Investment: $200,000. Total Investment: $880,000. DRA funding will support renovation of the interior of the downtown Bells Theater to provide a more suitable environment for workforce development and community events. It will be the only workforce training center in Crockett County and is projected to permit the training of 350-500 workers per year.
  8. CITY OF JACKSON: Create Robotics Training Center. DRA Investment: $150,000. Total Investment: $174,000. Jackson State Community College will use DRA funding to help create a robotics training center that will allow manufacturers in Southwest Tennessee to enhance their competitiveness. It also will provide opportunities for current workers to increase their skills and quality for higher-paying jobs.
  9. CITY OF SELMER: Business expansion and job creation. DRA Investment: $800,000. Total Investment: $10,110,052. This project is supported by DRA’s CIF program and will support a manufacturing facility’s plans to add a new product line and create about 140 new jobs. This expansion could benefit and improve economic conditions in 40% of the severely distressed counties in West Tennessee.

“I am pleased that Delta Regional Authority is investing in job creation and workforce development in Memphis,” said U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen. “This federal funding will help create and retain jobs, support local industries and spur economic growth in Memphis and around the Delta region.”

“I am pleased to hear of Delta Regional Authority’s decision to invest in these critical projects across West Tennessee,” said U.S. Rep. David Kustoff. “With successful partnerships like this, we can more effectively improve infrastructure and strengthen our workforce in both rural and urban communities. I thank Governor Haslam for his commitment to economic development across the Eighth District.”

DRA coordinates directly with Tennessee’s planning and development districts for program funding implementation. In addition, the agency works closely with Gov. Haslam and his board designee to identify projects to receive SEDAP investments, which are aligned with state economic development goals.
These DRA 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 West Tennessee. 

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


Media Contact:
Andrew Moreau