Delta Regional Authority Decides State Allocations for Key 2014 Economic Development Investments

February 24, 2014

State governors, Board review investment returns from 2013, plan for new Delta programs in 2014

Chairman Masingill: "In partnership with the Governors of our eight states, we continue to leverage our investments in the Delta for maximum impact."

Governors present: Governor Robert Bentley (AL); Governor Mike Beebe (AR); Governor Pat Quinn (IL)-not pictured; Governor Steve Beshear (KY)-not pictured; Governor Jay Nixon (MO); Governor Phil Bryant (MS; State Co-Chairman); and Governor Bill Haslam (TN).

WASHINGTON, DC – The Delta Regional Authority held its annual Governors Quorum Meeting this weekend to discuss the state of the Mississippi Delta region. By statute, the DRA must hold one annual meeting in which a quorum of the Board of Governors is present. Also at the meeting were the Governors’ designees and alternates to the Board and DRA staff. Seven of the eight governors from the Delta region were present to review the Authority’s programs from this past year and conduct key votes regarding state funding allocations and distress designations. 

Crucial to planning and implementing funding and programs in the 2014 fiscal year, the Governors approved this year’s funding allocations for each state. They also accepted the list of those counties and parishes deemed “economically distressed” for the coming year. The Governors are lead by a state co-chairman on a rotating basis. This weekend, Governor Jay Nixon handed over the chairmanship to Governor Phil Bryant, who will serve 2014 as State Co-Chairman.

“In partnership with the Governors of our eight states, we continue to help create jobs, build communities, and improve the lives of our people in the Delta region,” said DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill. “Through our unified vote, we pledge to do just that. We are pleased to welcome Governor Phil Bryant as our new State Co-Chairman, and I look forward to working directly with him to lead the Authority in supporting families and communities in Mississippi and the rest of the Delta region."

By statute, at least 75 percent of DRA investments must go into “economically distressed” counties and parishes. For Fiscal Year 2014, eleven counties and parishes which had been non-distressed the previous year are now classified as “distressed.” Conversely, nine counties and parishes have been upgraded to a “non-distressed” status. 

“It has been my pledge since day one as governor to grow Mississippi’s economy, and the Delta Regional Authority has always been a great partner in helping advance economic and quality of life priorities for the Delta region in Mississippi,” Governor Phil Bryant said. “From telehealth advancements to education investments and water and sewer improvements, the DRA is focused on bringing new opportunities to the communities it serves. I look forward to working with Chairman Masingill and the other governors to support the entire 8-state DRA partnership area.”

As part of its report to the governors, DRA released a series of publications highlighting the return on state and federal investments received through 2013 DRA projects and over the course of DRA’s twelve funding cycles. Over twelve funding cycles DRA has leveraged its total investments at a rate of 22.7 to 1 region-wide. These snapshots of the states’ returns on investments can be found on dra.gov

“These reports emphasize our goal of leveraging valuable investments for maximum and effective return on state and federal dollars," Chairman Masingill explained."

DRA staff also reported to the Board on the status of the 70 SEDAP projects that the Authority funded in 2013. The States’ Economic Development Assistance Program (SEDAP) focuses strategic investments of federal funding towards projects that strengthen the infrastructure, business environment, and workforce of Delta communities. These investments are often connected to additional funding sources and enhance economic development activities taking place in the region.

In FY 2013, SEDAP leveraged more than $9 million in federal funding into $276 million in projects in the eight-state region.

The Governors were also given an update on regional initiatives and federal partnerships that have benefited communities across the Delta through workforce training leadership development, small business and entrepreneurial training and support, and manufacturing investment. These programs build off of partnerships with numerous fellow federal agencies, local and state initiatives, and non-profits. 

Major DRA programs can be found in the recently-released 2013 Year in Review publication, which will be made available at dra.gov in the coming weeks.

The Delta Regional Authority is a federal-state partnership that is congressionally mandated to help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives in the 252 counties and parishes of the Delta. Through twelve cycles of federal investment, the Authority is helping to create and retain more than 41,000 jobs and has leveraged $2.7 billion in other public and private investment.

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Contact: Spencer Lucker
(202) 434-4842; slucker@dra.gov