President Joe Biden’s administration is starting to make available $3 billion in economic development grants for communities – a tenfold increase over the program paid for by this year’s COVID-19 relief bill.
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said her agency will begin accepting applications for competitive grants Thursday, which officials hope will create hundreds of thousands of jobs and give struggling cities and towns the long-term to drive growth for years to come. Investing will help.
“It’s about real help to communities across the country as they rebuild,” Raimondo said in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday. “It’s about investing in the long term to help communities build themselves back up from the bottom up in whatever way works best for them.”
The grants will be targeted to support the development of local infrastructure, job training programs and new industries. The recipients will be selected based on the expected return on investment to the taxpayers. Raimondo was set to appear at a White House press briefing on Thursday to promote the new program.
“These are taxpayer dollars that we are investing in communities, so we want to help them recover well,” Raimondo said. “These investments can help ensure that they can rebuild more sustainable and more equitably in the ways that work best for them.”
The administration hopes that the competitive nature of the program will also prompt private businesses and philanthropists to focus on rehabilitating their communities by making their development commitments. $1 billion will be available in a competitive process for 20 to 30 regions to spend on projects that will rebuild their economies, as well as $750 million in targeted grants for travel, tourism and outdoor recreation.
Fully 10% of the total will be earmarked for coal communities, which have struggled for decades between moving away from fossil fuels and bearing the economic brunt of the Biden administration’s even more aggressive efforts to move toward clean energy technologies. are ready for.
“It’s not fictional,” Raimondo said. “It’s about real well-paying jobs today and the investments needed to keep them coming.”
Credit: www.independent.co.uk / Joe Biden