Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the largest amount of new investment dollars by the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) in the state of Louisiana.  DRA’s initial investment of $3.3 million coupled with public and private partnerships brings the total to $9.5 million. The investments will be used for improvement projects to strengthen Louisiana’s infrastructure, workforce and economy.

“The Delta Regional Authority continues to be a strong and committed partner in moving Louisiana forward,” said Gov. Edwards. “We are very fortunate to be among the select group of states that received this award, which when combined with other public-private partnerships has already more than doubled its impact. This is tremendous, and I want to thank the DRA for investing in projects that will enable our people and our communities to have safe drinking water, expand health care options, and provide access to workforce training and development programs that will ultimately enhance the lives of so many.”   

Seventeen of the investments were made through the DRA States' Economic Development Assistance Program (SEDAP), the agency's main federal funding program that invests in basic public infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, workforce development, and small business and entrepreneurship projects. The other investments were through DRA’s Community Infrastructure Fund (CIF).

“DRA investments will support infrastructure improvements to deliver clean drinking water and meet sanitary sewer standards in several rural Louisiana communities, support entrepreneurial efforts for minority students, increase community competitiveness, and improve health care in underserved areas,” said Peter Kinder, alternate federal co-chairman of DRA. “These projects will help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives across the Louisiana Delta region. This effort highlights DRA’s ability to build public-private partnerships to invest in the future of the Delta.”

Louisiana is one of eight states to receive DRA investments. The agency’s total investments in the Mississippi River Delta Region and Black Belt of Alabama will reach $20 million in 2017. With contributions from public and private partners, total investments will be $228 million.

The DRA economic investments include the following:

1. TOWN OF COTTON VALLEY: Wastewater Treatment Improvements. DRA Investment: $33,866 (100%). Cotton Valley’s wastewater treatment facility has experienced mechanical failures to key components that allow for proper and effective treatment of wastewater. The town’s existing customers will directly benefit from these improvements by eliminating unsanitary conditions and reducing risks to public health and safety.

2. TOWN OF BALDWIN: Water System Improvements. DRA Investment: $236,030 (100%). Baldwin, a small town in St. Mary Parish, will make major improvements to its water treatment system to deliver safe and clean drinking water to the town. The system is deteriorating and does not meet state standards. This investment includes $103,634 from SEDAP funds and another $132,666 from the CIF program.

3. CITY OF DELTA: Sewer Rehabilitation. DRA Investment: $98,700 (100%). This project will prevent unsanitary sewage from backing up into homes. Current conditions cause health problems for residents and are out of compliance with state regulations.

4. CITY OF JENA: Water System Improvements. DRA Investment: $307,000 (100%). This project is funded through DRA’s CIF program and will resolve emergency conditions to deliver safe and clean drinking water to more than 1,000 residents and businesses on the Nebo Water System. In July, DRA delivered $300,000 in emergency funding to replace a damaged water tank.

5. BATON ROUGE: Entrepreneurial Development. DRA Investment: $52,500. Total Investment: $103,378. Research Park Corporation will use DRA funding to help deliver entrepreneurial education to students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Louisiana. These efforts include a software platform, formal mentor network of business and tech professionals, and creation of tech-based business projects.

6. CITY OF TALLULAH: Add Rail Spurt to Enhance Business Expansion. DRA Investment: $200,000. Total Investment: $349,920. The project will construct a new rail spur that will extend the existing spur at the Madison Parish Port Railroad. DRA’S investment will support a business expansion and help create 15 new jobs and retain more than 100 jobs. DRA’s investment includes $100,000 from SEDAP and another $100,000 from the CIF program.

7. CITY OF DERIDDER: Workforce Training and Development. DRA Investment: $52,500. Total Investment: $55,640. DRA’s investment will support the Greater Beauregard Chamber of Commerce’s efforts to become a Work Ready Community and provide a regional sustainability workforce in the area.

 8. CITY OF NEW ORLEANS: Job Training Improvements. DRA Investment: $200,000. Total Investment: $446,855. Delgado Community College Maritime, Fire, Radar & Industrial Training Facility will use DRA funds to better serve the maritime transportation, petroleum and petrochemical industries and meet new safety standards. The project will result in a completely renovated fire field to meet the future demands of those industries across the Delta.

9. VILLAGE OF QUITMAN: Wastewater Treatment Improvements. DRA Investment: $206,000. Total Investment: $938,521. Quitman's wastewater treatment plant was severely damaged in a March 2016 flood. This CIF project will close the wastewater lagoon and rock-reed filter and replace it with a package-treatment plant. The village will update the treatment facility without having to increase taxes and benefit residents, businesses and a school with nearly 1,000 students, facility and staff.

10. VILLAGE OF GROSSE TETE: Sewer Improvements. DRA Investment: $50,411. Total Investment: $99,416. This upgrade will eliminate the continuous cost of repairs spent on older pumps in Grosse Tete. The upgrade will provide the village’s 647 residents with upgraded sewer service and will reduce the risk of sewer backups for homes and businesses.

11. CITY OF OAK GROVE: Deliver Clean Water for School. DRA Investment: $105,000. Total Investment: $160,000. DRA funding through its CIF program will install new water mains to deliver clean and safe drinking water to Oak Grove High School, which serves 1,200 students.

12. CITY OF COLFAX: Enhance Business Development. DRA Investment: $154,786. Total Investment: $240,908. The Grant Parish Assessor's Office will update its information systems technology to help strengthen the economic climate for major industry and small businesses. The new system will enhance the profitability and productivity of businesses in the parish.

13. VILLAGE OF WATERPROOF: Wastewater Treatment Improvements. DRA Investment: $58,928 (100%). This investment will support installation of an automatic gas chlorination system and three new aerators to disinfect discharge at the wastewater treatment plant. Improvements will enhance the quality of life for the 688 residents of Waterproof, 400-500 residents of the Tensas Parish Detention Facility and for all residents effected by the Tensas River watershed.

14. CITY OF CONVENT: Expand Wastewater Treatment. DRA Investment: $100,000. Total Investment: $167,074. DRA’s CIF investment will support construction of a chlorination building at the West Bank Water Treatment Plant to expand the capacity of the water treatment and distribution system in St. James Parish. This project will have a parish-wide impact and is part of a much larger plan to link the East and West Bank water treatment plants and distribution systems.

15. CITY OF ARNAUDVILLE: Infrastructure Improvements to Support Area Cultural Initiatives. DRA Investment: $69,668. Total Investment: $79,668. This investment will extend the city’s sewer system to support the NUNU Arts and Culture Collective. Access to this critical infrastructure will improve the sustainability of NUNU by increasing community access to available spaces that could generate rental income to ensure the long-term viability of its programs.   

16. CITY OF NEW ORLEANS: Install Fiber Network. DRA Investment: $266,555. Total Investment: $586,555. The city plans to build the first segment of an institutional fiber network connecting its primary and secondary data centers at City Hall and Orleans Parish Communications District, its 911 facility. DRA will provide funding from $223,721 from its SEDAP program and $42,834 from CIF. Lessons learned from the post-Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts emphasize the need for economic, social, and digital resilience. Strengthened digital infrastructure and the resulting improvements in data collection and analysis are key components in the city’s workforce development, economic and community development, resilience and crime reduction initiatives.

17. CITY OF FRANKLIN: Infrastructure Improvements. DRA Investment: $155,500. Total Investment: $410,735. The project involves the elevation of Cote Blanche Crossing, raising the road by 2 feet, from a levee running parallel to LA Highway 83 to the ferry landing at the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The road is typically shut down several days throughout the year due to high water from excessive rain and impairs operation of a business.

18. CITY OF TALLULAH: Provide Clean and Safe Drinking Water. DRA Investment: $150,000. Total Investment: $400,000. This emergency project will provide repairs to the water system of Tallulah.  The repairs will reduce the arsenic level of the consumable water produced by the plant. Today, about 9,000 residents are consuming water that is high in arsenic levels.

19. CITY OF NAPOLEONVILLE: Disaster Recovery Resiliency. DRA Investment: $115,100 (100%). Assumption Parish will use DRA funds to purchase an air curtain burner to dispose of vegetative debris following severe storm events. The air burners will provide a more sustainable and environmentally safe and fast method to remove the debris.  

20. CITY OF FRANKLIN: Expanded Health Care. DRA Investment: $200,000. Total Investment: $1,200,000. DRA funds will be used to renovate a building that will be used to expand and provide additional health care services in the Pierre Part area of Assumption Parish.

21. VILLAGE OF MAURICE: Water System Improvements. DRA Investment: $256,500. Total Investment: $4,101,500. This CIF project will improve the water distribution system and water treatment system to accommodate the rapid rate of growth that is occurring in the area and enhance opportunities for business expansion.

22. BATON ROUGE: Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) Expansion: DRA Investment: $250,000.  Total Investment: $250,000.  The Louisiana Workforce Commission is seeking to expand the JAG program in Louisiana from 69 programs to 101, with an emphasis on assisting students with disabilities in the state of Louisiana. The program promotes collaboration between school districts, colleges and local businesses to provide career courses and workplace experiences to high school students.

DRA coordinates directly with Louisiana’s planning and development districts for program funding implementation. In addition, the agency works closely with Gov. Edwards and his board designee to identify projects to receive SEDAP investments, which are aligned with state economic development goals. These federal investments require a minimal investment of state funds that can bring a large return in DRA and other agency funding and result in a greater economic impact for the Delta region of Louisiana. 

About the Delta Regional Authority

The Delta Regional Authority is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives through strategic investments in economic development in 252 counties and parishes across eight states. To date, the DRA’s SEDAP investments, together with its state and local partners, have leveraged more than $3.7 billion in public and private investment into local small business owners, entrepreneurs, workers, and infrastructure development projects. These investments have helped create or retain more than 37,000 jobs, trained more than 3,700 workers for 21st Century jobs and provided water and sewer service to more than 66,000 residents since DRA was established. Learn more at dra.gov.