STATEMENT BY SENATOR BARBARA BOXER
July 14, 1998
SUBCOMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS
HEARING ON THE REAUTHORIZATION OF THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ADMINISTRATION - S. 1647

Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to comment on the reauthorization of the Economic Development Administration, or EDA. First, allow me to give you an example of how EDA has helped a community in California.

In 1991, DOD announced the closure of Castle Air Force Base, the biggest employer in Merced County, CA with more than 5000 military personnel and 1000 civilian workers. The base pumped nearly $250 million annually into the area's economy. When the base closed in 1995, the county's employment rate skyrocketed to 17.6%, double that of the State of CA.

EDA did not wait, however, until the base was shuttered to begin helping with economic conversion of the facility. In 1993, EDA awarded Merced County $1 million for a revolving fund loan to assist in business development and awarded the city of Atwater $2.6 million for sewer construction. In 1995 and 1998, EDA awarded a total of $4.3 million for the development of the U.S. Aviation Discovery Exposition Center on the grounds of the former base as tourist destination.

So far, 44 businesses have been lured to the base creating some 1,900 new jobs in just two years. More than 90% of the existing buildings are leased. And, the aviation complex is expected to draw up to 300,000 visitors by the year 2000.

Over the last 33 years, EDA has invested more than $1.6 billion in needy communities throughout California, representing over 2700 projects. EDA has been instrumental in California by helping communities rebound after a military base or manufacturing plant closing. EDA has helped communities in California recover from the 1990 and 1994 earthquakes, as well as the 1992 L.A. riots. I cannot even begin to tell you how important economic recovery is to the emotional well-being of a community ravaged by natural disaster or a base closing.

What is even more compelling to me is the efficiency by which the Agency has carried out its mission:

99% of EDA projects were completed as planned

91% were completed on time

52% were completed under budget

327 jobs were created or retained for every $1 million in EDA

investment

Every $1 million in EDA funding leveraged $10.08 million in private-

sector investment

Every $1 million in EDA funding increased the local tax base by

$10.13 million; and the number of jobs doubled in the six years

after project completion

All government agencies should be as efficient as EDA.

It is important to note that EDA does not bail out a community. It gives the community tools by which they can create their own recovery and security.

EDA has given real help to the poorest communities of California. Mr. Chairman, I strongly support the reauthorization of the Economic Development Administration and urge everyone on the Subcommittee to support the passage of S. 1647 as well. Thank you Mr. Chairman.