Hearings - Statement
 
Statement of Barbara Boxer
Hearing: FULL COMMITTEE BUSINESS MEETING
Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Statement of Chairman Barbara Boxer
Business Meeting
S. 2778, the Economic Development Revitalization Act of 2009
November 18, 2009
(Remarks as prepared for delivery)

Today, one bill has been noticed for consideration.

This bill has strong bipartisan support. I thank Senator Inhofe, Senator Baucus, Senator Voinovich and all the other members on both sides of the aisle for the hard work they have put into this bill.

The Committee will now consider S. 2778 the Economic Development Revitalization Act of 2009. I introduced this bill and Senators Inhofe, Baucus, Voinovich, Merkley and Vitter joined as original cosponsors.

The current multi-year authorization for the Economic Development Administration (EDA) expired on September 30, 2008. The Economic Development Revitalization Act of 2009 would authorize EDA for 2009 through 2013 at $500 million per year.

This legislation makes several improvements to EDA programs including:

• changing the current cost sharing requirements to specify an increased federal share for areas in which unemployment is especially high and per capita income is especially low;

• modifying the existing Revolving Loan Fund program to allow recipients to convert an existing, but no longer needed revolving loan fund, to carry out another EDA eligible project; and

• modifying existing maintenance of effort rules to allow recipients of grants that are more than 10 years old to buy out the Government’s interest using a depreciated figure based on the project’s estimated useful life.

All of these changes, plus many I haven’t mentioned will help to improve EDA and its programs.

Created during the Johnson Administration, the EDA has a long history of helping economically distressed communities foster the jobs and businesses necessary to maintain strong, healthy communities.

From providing funding for water and sewer improvements to helping manufacturers and producers become more competitive in a global marketplace, the EDA provides valuable assistance to communities across our nation. And, it’s cost effective.

EDA has an especially important role to play in these challenging economic times.

EDA reported they awarded $976 million in public works, economic adjustment and revolving loan fund projects from 2004 to 2008. These investments are expected to create almost 172,000 jobs at an average cost of $5,700 per job over the next nine years.

Additionally, these construction and revolving loan fund investments are expected to leverage large amounts of private sector investment. EDA indicates that each dollar of EDA funding is estimated to attract at least $10 in private sector investment.

In 2009 alone, EDA provided the State of California more than $50 million in investments which applicants expect to save nearly 1,000 jobs and create over 20,000 jobs, while stimulating private investments of over $1 billion.

One example of a 2009 EDA investment in California is the $1.7 million provided to the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation to fund the expansion and renovation of a building that will serve as a business incubator. This project will allow the Foundation to continue providing technical assistance and microloans to entrepreneurs, while also providing new technology resources and office space, in the Fresno County region.

The project is estimated to help create 900 jobs and leverage $36 million in private investment.

Another example of a California EDA investment is $7.25 million provided to the City of Anaheim for the construction of a pedestrian walkway to link a new hospital complex with existing retail, office space and surplus industrial sites that are available for redevelopment.

According to EDA, “the project will provide improved access to public transportation, which will help spur redevelopment of the industrial areas, reduce traffic and pollution and create opportunities for business development.”

The project is estimated to help create 1,900 jobs and leverage $570 million in private investment.

A final example is $4.56 million provided to the Inland Valley Development Agency/San Bernardino International Airport Authority to reconstruct taxiways and aprons in order to convert the former Norton Air Force Base, which is now the San Bernardino International Airport, into a full service international airport, allow for increased passenger travel, air cargo and the growth of the Airport’s industrial park.

The project is estimated to help create 500 jobs, retain 145 jobs and leverage $21.1 million in private investment.

All of these investments are creating jobs and much needed economic development.

I urge support for this bill, which will help to ensure these job producing investments can be made in the future.
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