Story at a glance

  • $3 billion will go toward economic and business development in the country.
  • Continued aid to communities dependent on coal will also be applied.
  • The funding comes from the American Rescue Plan.

A $3 billion investment is being made into economically vulnerable communities across the country to lend sustained support to growing commercial regions.

Announced by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Act and is the largest economic development investment from the Department of Commerce in decades. 

The initiative comes as the U.S. economy has struggled to adjust alongside the COVID-19 pandemic, and many sectors and towns are still reeling. The new delta variant outbreaks stand to shut down progress made in terms of reopening efforts.

“President Biden’s American Rescue Plan delivered direct relief to the American people and was the first step to energizing the American economy following the devastating impacts of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Secretary Raimondo. “Now, its medium-term investments will allow communities around the country not only rebuild but reimagine their economy for the future.”

The money will be distributed within several programs, including $1 billion to the Build Back Better Regional Challenge, $500 million for the Economic Adjustment Assistance Challenge, $100 million to the Indigenous Communities Challenge, another $500 million to the Good Jobs Challenge, $90 million to the Statewide Planning, Research, and Networks Grants, and $750 million to the Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation Grants. 

A notable sum on the grant funding will be allocated to communities and towns that depend on coal as an economic engine. 

As Biden pushes for more environmentally sustainable energy policies, helping coal communities transition into new career fields and industries is a key mission in his administration. 

The Department of Commerce will also work alongside the Biden administration’s Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities to support worker training and economic development in these regions.

“With an emphasis on equity, EDA’s investments made possible by the American Rescue Plan will directly benefit communities that have been denied full access to economic prosperity and who have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic,” Raimondo added. “We will work with local communities across the country on innovative new approaches to ensure that we can increase American competitiveness by strengthening our workforce, businesses, and communities and build back better in regions across the country.”

Published on Jul 23, 2021