Investments for Public Works and Economic Development Facilities

The Public Works and Economic Development Program of the Economic Development Administration (EDA) is designed to enhance regional competitiveness and promote long-term economic development in regions experiencing substantial economic distress.

Through the program, EDA provides Public Works investment
assistance to support the construction or rehabilitation of essential public infrastructure and facilities necessary to generate or retain long-term private sector jobs and investments, attract private sector capital, and promote regional competitiveness.

Grants (referred to throughout this document as investments) may be used for projects such as expanding and upgrading infrastructure to attract new industry, supporting technology-led development, redeveloping brownfield sites, promoting eco-industrial development, and supporting heritage preservation development investments such as those promoted by the Executive Order on Preserve America.
Related Programs

Examples of Funded Projects

Projects funded through the Public Works and Economic Development Program include: (a) infrastructure for industrial park development; (b) port development and expansion; (c) infrastructure necessary for economic development (e.g.

water quality infrastructure, sewer facilities, etc.); (d) renovation and recycling of former industrial buildings; (e) construction of vocational/technical facilities and skill centers; (f) incubator facility construction; (g) brownfield redevelopment; (h) eco-industrial development; and (i) broadband infrastructure.

Agency - Department of Commerce

The Department of Commerce fosters and promotes the nation's economic development and technological advancement through vigilance in international trade policy, domestic business policy and growth, and promoting economic progress at all levels.

Office - Refer to Appendix IV of the Catalog for EDA regional office contact information.
Website Address

Program Accomplishments

In FY 2007, 142 Public Works investments were approved.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Eligible activities include the acquisition or development of public land and improvements for use in public works, public services, or development facilities.

Other appropriate activities include acquisition, design and engineering, construction, rehabilitation, alteration, expansion, or improvement of publicly-owned and operated development facilities, including related machinery and equipment.

Characteristic projects include investments in facilities such as water and sewer systems, industrial access roads, industrial and business parks, port facilities, railroad sidings, distance learning facilities, skill-training facilities, business incubator facilities, brownfield redevelopment, eco-industrial facilities, and telecommunications and broadband infrastructure improvements necessary for business creation, retention and expansion.

A project must be located in or impact a region that, on the date EDA receives an application for investment assistance, satisfies one or more of the economic distress criteria set forth in 13 CFR 301.3(a).

In addition, the project must fulfill a pressing need of the region and must: (a) improve the opportunities for the successful establishment or expansion of industrial or commercial plants or facilities in the region; (b) assist in the creation of additional long-term employment opportunities in the region; or (c) primarily benefit the long-term unemployed and low-income residents.

All proposed investments must be consistent with a current EDA-approved Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) or equivalent strategic economic development plan for the region in which the project will be located, and the applicant must have the required local share of funds committed, available, and unencumbered.

Applicants must be able to start and complete proposed projects in a timely manner consistent with award terms and conditions.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Pursuant to PWEDA, eligible applicants for and recipients of EDA investment assistance include a State, city, county, or other political subdivision of a State, including a(n): (a) District Organization as defined in 13 CFR 304.2; (b) Indian Tribe or a consortium of Indian Tribes; (c) State, city, or other political subdivision of a State, including a special purpose unit of a State or local government engaged in economic or infrastructure development activities, or a consortium of such political subdivisions; (d) institution of higher education or a consortium of institutions of higher education; or (e) public or private non-profit organization or association acting in cooperation with officials of a political subdivision of a State.

See section 3 of PWEDA (42 U.S.C.

3122) and 13 CFR 300.3.

Projects eligible for Public Works investment assistance include those located in regions meeting "Special Need" criteria as defined in 13 CFR 300.3.

For-profit, private-sector entities do not qualify for Public Works assistance under PWEDA.

EDA may not provide investments directly to individuals or for-profit entities seeking to start or expand a private business.

Such requests may be referred to State or local agencies, or to non-profit economic development organizations.

As used in this paragraph, 'State' includes the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S.

Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Not applicable. Public Works and Economic Development investments are intended to help recipients in the nation's most distressed communities to revitalize, expand, or upgrade their physical infrastructure to attract new industry, encourage business expansion, diversify their local economies, and generate or retain long-term private sector jobs and capital investments.


An application for investment assistance must describe the purpose of the proposed projects, the type of facility proposed, estimated project costs, permanent private sector job impact (estimated payrolls, estimated private-sector job investment, etc.), the estimated schedule for construction commencement and completion, and assurances that the project will satisfy EDA's statutory and regulatory requirements. The application must demonstrate how the project will satisfy a pressing need of the region and assist local economic development efforts.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

An applicant interested in a Public Works investment assistance award may request application information by contacting the EDA regional office serving the region in which the proposed project will be located or will serve.

Please visit EDA's internet website at for regional office contact information.

An environmental assessment is necessary; an environmental impact statement may also be required.

This program is eligible for coverage under Executive Order 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs".

Application Procedures

For information on the application process you may access the applicable federal funding opportunity (FFO) announcement for Public Works investment assistance at and at EDA will review each application for Public Works investment assistance in accordance with the evaluation criteria, funding priorities, and selection procedures set forth in the applicable FFO. Applications are subject to the intergovernmental review process authorized under Executive Order 12372 and implementing regulations at 13 CFR 302.9 and 15 CFR part 13.

Award Procedures

Successful applications are selected by the appropriate Regional Director and announced by the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development (Assistant Secretary).


EDA regional offices accept applications for Public Works investments on an ongoing basis. EDA will notify the applicant if EDA has accepted a completed application and forwarded the application for further review and processing in accordance with EDA and Department of Commerce procedures.


Section 201 of the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965, as amended (PWEDA),(42 U.S.C. 3141).

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Generally, two months are required for EDA to reach a final decision after receipt of a complete application that meets all requirements.





Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Generally, EDA investment assistance may not exceed 50 percent of the project cost. Projects may receive an additional amount that shall not exceed 30 percent, based on the relative needs of the region in which the project will be located, as determined by EDA. See section 204(a) of PWEDA (42 U.S.C. 3144) and 13 CFR 301.4(b)(1). In the case of investment assistance to a(n) (a) Indian Tribe; (b) State or political subdivision of a State that the Assistant Secretary determines has exhausted its effective taxing and borrowing capacity; or (c) non-profit organization that the Assistant Secretary determines have exhausted its effective borrowing capacity, the Assistant Secretary has the discretion to establish a maximum EDA investment rate of up to 100 percent of the total project cost. See sections 204(c)(1) and (2) of PWEDA (42 U.S.C. 3144) and 13 CFR 301.4(b)(5). Potential applicants should contact the appropriate EDA regional office to make these determinations. While cash contributions are preferred, in-kind contributions, such as contributions of space, equipment, assumptions of debt, and services, may provide the required non-federal share of the total project cost. See section 204(b) of PWEDA (42 U.S.C. 3144). EDA will fairly evaluate all in-kind contributions, which must be eligible project costs and meet applicable Federal financial assistance awards are considered matching share funds only if authorized by statute, which may be determined by EDA's reasonable interpretation of the statute. See 13 CFR 300.3. The applicant must show that the required matching share is committed to the project for the project period, available as needed, and not conditioned or encumbered in any way that precludes its use consistent with the requirements of EDA investment assistance. See 13 CFR 301.5.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Public Works investments, which are disbursed for eligible costs incurred, are generally not disbursed until after all contracts for construction have been awarded. See 13 CFR 305.9.

Post Assistance Requirements


Recipients are subject to all federal laws and federal, Department of Commerce and EDA policies, regulations, and procedures applicable to federal financial assistance awards, including but not limited to 15 CFR Parts 14 or 24, as applicable.

Standard financial and performance reports are required, and special reports for specific projects may be requested.

See 13 CFR 302.6 and 302.16.


In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133, recipients that are States, local governments, non-profit organizations (including hospitals), and institutions of higher education shall be subject to the audit requirements contained in the Single Audit Act Amendments of 1996 (31 U.S.C. 7501 et seq.). States, local governments, and non-profit governments that expend $500,000 or more in a year in federal awards shall have a single or program-specific audit conducted for that year. In addition, recipients must provide the EDA, the Inspector General of the Department of Commerce, and the Comptroller General of the United States with access to its properties to examine all materials necessary to verify compliance with investment requirements. See 13 CFR 302.14(b).


All financial and programmatic records, supporting documents, statistical reports, and other records of recipients or sub-recipients are required to be maintained by the terms of the grant agreement. The recipient must retain records for three years from the date when the final expenditure report is submitted.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Investments) FY 07 $176,990,281; FY 08 $146,430,000; and FY 09 est $7,200,000.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

In FY 2007, Public Works investments ranged from $12,500 to $3,215,427. The average investment was $1,246,410.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Title 13 CFR Chapter III, Parts 300-302, 305, 310, and 314; Department of Commerce Organization Order 10-4, as amended.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Refer to Appendix IV of the Catalog for EDA regional office contact information.

Headquarters Office

Economic Development Administration, Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20230.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

EDA will review all applications for investment assistance for the feasibility of the budget presented and conformance with EDA statutory and regulatory requirements. EDA will assess the economic development needs of the affected region in which the proposed project will be located, or the region which the project will serve, as well as the capability of the proponent to implement the proposed project. Furthermore, EDA will select applications competitively based on strategic areas of interest and priority considerations identified in the applicable announcement of federal funding opportunity (FFO). EDA also may consider the degree to which an investment in the proposed project will satisfy one or more of the following criteria: (a) is market-based and results driven; (b) has strong organizational leadership; (c) advances productivity, innovation and entrepreneurship; (d) looks beyond the immediate economic horizon, anticipates economic changes and diversifies the local and regional economy; and (e) demonstrates a high degree of local commitment. Public Works investment applications must meet EDA's investment policy guidelines as set out in 13 CFR 301.8 and other requirements as provided in the applicable FFO.

The Great Social Enterprise Pitch, a project of Assets Lancaster and the Lancaster County Community Foundation, has now opened its voting portal for people who will donate money to the projects they like best.

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