STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN JOHN WARNER
BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
ON THE REAUTHORIZATION OF THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ADMINISTRATION
JULY 14, 1998

Good Morning. This morning the subcommittee will focus on the reauthorization of the Economic Development Administration under the Department of Commerce.

The Economic Development Administration has made many valuable contributions to communities throughout the nation. EDA is a small but important agency that contributes significantly to economic growth and expansion.

The Economic Development Administration maintains the task of saving and creating jobs in areas that are economically distressed. To meet these objectives, EDA provides assistance to distressed states and localities through grants for public infrastructure, economic adjustment, planning, and technical assistance, all of which are intended to promote a transition to long-term employment and growth.

Through these programs, EDA fulfills a key function in providing State and local governments, non-profit organizations, and public institutions with vital economic grants and technical assistance. These grants are given on a cost-share basis, with the federal/non-federal ratio varying according to the program.

EDA grants focus on a number of different programs administered by the Assistant Secretary who will be testifying before us today. Many states, the Commonwealth of Virginia included, have benefited from the public works program.

Grants provided under the public works program give seed monies for infrastructure projects intended to help these distressed communities support private sector investments. Grants allow communities to meet economic challenges in a variety of ways--making public works improvements to attract new businesses, like industrial parks, and providing technical assistance and planning grants that allow a community to plan for its future.

Since 1982, the Economic Development Administration has been functioning without authorization, but rather through appropriations under the Commerce, Justice, State Appropriations. Our hearing today will focus on the need for a reauthorization of EDA, and the future mission of the EDA in helping communities help themselves.