July 22, 2020
Today, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) applauded an announcement by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $4.9 million grant to the Muskogee City-County Port Authority of Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, to make critical infrastructure improvements needed to protect businesses from future floods. The EDA grant, to be located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $1.65 million in local funds.
“I am pleased to see the EDA award the Muskogee City-County Port Authority a $4.9 million grant to make needed infrastructure improvements,” said Senator Jim Inhofe. “This investment will not just bring certainty to protect port industries and critical infrastructure, like the water plant, to protect them from future flooding. It will also ensure it can continue to power economic growth across the region. In addition to this grant, the funding will be matched with $1.65 million in local funds. I am continually proud of local, state and federal cooperation that brings needed federal investment to Oklahoma’s infrastructure and leads to economic expansion and job growth under the direction of President Trump.”
“The Trump Administration is working hard to support local efforts to rebuild infrastructure in the wake of natural disasters,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This project will provide the Muskogee Port with critical flood prevention infrastructure, and its location in a Foreign Trade Zone and Opportunity Zone will help revitalize the community and drive further private investment to the area.”
“The Port is a key economic driver for the region, and this investment will provide the necessary infrastructure to ensure its continued operation in the event of future storms,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “Mitigating damage from flooding is a key focus for the region, and maximizing investment in Opportunity Zones will help further diversify and grow the regional economy.”
“The Muskogee Port supports thousands of jobs and is an economic driver for the community,” said Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02). “This investment will make long overdue improvements to help protect the area from floods, like the historic flooding we experienced last year. I am glad to see that these funds will be used in an Opportunity Zone, allowing for further economic investment in the area. I look forward to seeing the benefits for years to come.”
“The award of a $4.9 million EDA Grant is great news for Muskogee and the Port,” said Scott Robinson, Port Director of the Port of Muskogee. “We thank Senator Inhofe for his leadership, support and advocacy on behalf of the Port of Muskogee to secure this investment in the future of the Port and the surrounding region. The 2019 flood on the Arkansas River was unprecedented and its impacts were catastrophic, resulting in substantial financial losses, including losses to Port Industries. Funding, provided by EDA and non-federal cost share partners, including the City of Muskogee, the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, the Muskogee Port Authority and others will ensure the continued viability, competitiveness and sustainability of the Port of Muskogee. Raising the elevation of undeveloped properties in the Port and constructing 6,700 LF of levee will protect public and private investments already created by Port Industries. The levee will also protect the City of Muskogee’s Water Plant that supplies water to more than 68,000 residents in and around Muskogee as well as five rural water districts.”
On October 16, 2019, Inhofe sent a letter in support of the INCOG application for the project.
Port industries have invested more than $2 billion in their facilities along the Waterway, and created more than 2,500 jobs as a result of access to the Port of Muskogee.
This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Eastern Oklahoma Development District, which EDA funds to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.
The funding announced today goes to one of Oklahoma’s 117 Opportunity Zones. Created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones are spurring economic development in economically-distressed communities nationwide. In June 2019, EDA added Opportunity Zones as an Investment Priority, which increases the number of catalytic Opportunity Zone-related projects that EDA can fund to fuel greater public investment in these areas. To learn more about the Commerce Department’s work in Opportunity Zones, please visit EDA’s Opportunity Zones webpage. To learn more about the Opportunity Zone program, see the Opportunity Now resources webpage.
This project is funded by the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 (Pub. L. 116-20), which provided EDA with $600 million in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program funds for disaster relief and recovery for areas affected by Hurricanes Florence, Michael, and Lane, Typhoons Yutu and Mangkhut, wildfires, volcanic eruptions, and other major natural disasters occurring in calendar year 2018, and tornadoes and floods occurring in calendar year 2019, under the Robert T. Stafford Act. Please visit EDA’s Disaster Supplemental webpage.