Op-Ed by Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross: U.S. Department of Commerce Invests to Keep Pa. Businesses Safely Open
Mon, 08/03/2020 – 08:56
Under President Donald J. Trump’s leadership, the U.S. Department of Commerce is working around the clock to grow our economy and support local efforts to keep businesses open and workers and customers safe during these challenging times.
Today, as part of these efforts, the department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding $35.5 million in Recovery Assistance grants that will provide critical gap financing to small Pennsylvania companies adversely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The grants are a result of $1.5 billion in CARES Act funding allocated to EDA to help communities prevent, prepare, and respond to the coronavirus.
Today’s grant recipients are long-standing pillars in their communities that have worked with EDA under its Revolving Loan Funds (RLF) program. These RLF operators will provide credit quickly and efficiently to Pennsylvania small businesses to help them recover from the pandemic and create a more resilient, stronger economy for the future.
RLF operators in Pennsylvania have supported a variety of economic development efforts across the state, from Pittsburgh’s South Side to Philadelphia’s Navy Yard. Their loans have helped bring clean water to neighborhoods in Lewisburg; assisted a world-class manufacturer with equipment purchases in Elk County; and enabled child-care services to continue in Wilkes-Barre.
On July 1, while I was in Erie, I announced the Trump Administration’s first EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance RLF award. The $5.4 million grant to the Northwest Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission is now providing loans to coronavirus-impacted small businesses in Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango, and Warren counties.
The Administration has since awarded tens of millions of EDA CARES Act dollars to RLF operators across the country.
Providing capital to RLFs is one of several ways that EDA is assisting communities in Pennsylvania and throughout the country in responding to the pandemic.
EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance funding also is being provided to regional Economic Development Districts to help them update their economic development plans. The goal is to create stronger local economies that can withstand any future shock similar to that of the pandemic. Some of these Economic Development Districts are seeking innovative financing opportunities for businesses and communities; others are identifying and mitigating gaps in broadband service; while others are assisting companies in getting connected with e-commerce platforms to cultivate new customers and generate online sales.
In addition, EDA’s CARES Act Recovery Assistance is supporting the agency’s University Center partners, including Pennsylvania State University’s Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program (PennTAP). Funds are allowing universities to provide additional technical assistance to more companies and communities adversely impacted by the current crisis.
Combined with the Trump administration’s efforts to cut taxes, eliminate useless and costly regulations, create jobs, and insist on free and fair trade, these CARES Act investments come at a critical time for putting Pennsylvania communities back on track and to flourish once again.
The American economy is quickly recovering from the crisis thanks to the policies that President Trump has put in place, the long-term investments being made and the resilience and tenacity of hard-working Americans.
The Trump administration stands resolute with the people of Pennsylvania. We will continue to support your local efforts to boost businesses and create jobs.
Wilbur L. Ross Jr. has been serving as the 39th United States Secretary of Commerce since 2017.