Cassidy Announces $4.1 Million Investment in CARES Act Recovery Assistance to Boost Broadband Capacity and Advanced Manufacturing Growth Efforts in Louisiana

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Sen. Bill Cassidy

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) today announced the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding $4.1 million in CARES Act Recovery Assistance grants to help the state of Louisiana prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.

“Broadband internet is essential to economic development. This is true in Acadiana and it is true in the rest of our state,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Bringing investment to Farmerville is crucial to create jobs in the region. If Louisiana is to compete with other states and countries, projects like these are essential.”

“The Economic Development Administration is committed to helping communities across the nation implement strategies to mitigate economic hardships brought on by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Dennis Alvord, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “These EDA investments will increase broadband capacity in the Acadiana region and support manufacturers growth in Farmerville.”

“This $3 million for Lafayette Parish will help build out the broadband infrastructure we need support to south Louisiana businesses and jobs, and we’re glad to see this funding come through,” said Senator John Kennedy. “In north Louisiana, the people of Farmerville and Union Parish will also see a $1 million investment support manufacturing, expand private investment in the community, and create new jobs in the process.”

“I’m grateful for the EDA’s investment and the Acadiana Planning Commission’s work to improve broadband infrastructure,” said Congressman Clay Higgins. “South Louisiana will benefit tremendously with the creation of new jobs and opportunities throughout our region.”

“This is exciting news for Union Parish,” said Congressman Mike Johnson. “This strategic investment will help create nearly 100 jobs in North Louisiana and help establish Farmerville as a manufacturing hub for the area. A federal grant of this kind, being supplemented with local investments, is a great example of our local and federal governments working together to strengthen our communities in the wake of the pandemic.”

The EDA investments announced today are:

Lafayette City Parish Consolidated Government, Lafayette, Louisiana, will receive $3.1 million to construct new fiber optic lines along a 47-mile route. The new infrastructure will serve the municipal government complex and business park in Scott, the new Iberia Parish Emergency Operations Center, the Acadiana Regional Airport, a behavioral health clinic in New Iberia, and four industrial parks. The project, to be matched with $778,900 in local funds, is expected to spur $26 million in private investment. The Acadiana Planning Commission (APC), an EDA-designated Economic Development District, played an integral role in developing this project.

Union Growth and Development Foundation, Inc., Farmerville, Louisiana, will receive $1 million to design and renovate seven buildings for use as the Delta Incubator, an advanced manufacturing business incubator to be located in Farmerville. The project, to be matched with $260,000 in local funds, is expected to create 95 jobs and generate $18.3 million in private investment. The North Delta Regional Planning and Development District (NDRPDD), an EDA-designated Economic Development District, played an integral role in developing this project.

These projects are funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law 116-136), which provided EDA with $1.5 billion for economic assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau’s flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) program, provides a wide-range of financial assistance to eligible communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.