WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Commerce announced Thursday that two Economic Development Administration (EDA) grants totaling $2.7 million will help Arkansas and Louisiana make critical infrastructure improvements needed to create economic opportunity and jobs in the wake of recent natural disasters in 2011.
Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank said "The grants announced today will help Louisiana and Arkansas rebuild a vital rail link and help Arkansas improve water and sewer services in a flood-impacted community. These infrastructure improvements will help ensure that both states are able to attract and support businesses and jobs, thereby strengthening the local economy."
The investments announced today include a $2 million EDA investment in the southeast Arkansas Economic Development District, Inc. of Pine Bluff, Ark. and the Lake Providence, La., Port Commission, which will rehabilitate a currently inoperable rail line of the North Louisiana Arkansas Railroad's rail line that runs between Lake Village, Ark. and Lake Providence, La.
The improvements will provide a connection with the Union Pacific Railroad, and are a critical component of broader efforts to restore vital transportation infrastructure that was damaged by two major storms in 2011 and subsequent flooding of the Mississippi River.