On September 3, the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced it will accept public comments on its Request for Information (RFI) on promoting economic development in qualified Opportunity Zones and economically distressed communities.
Enacted under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (P.L. 115-97), Opportunity Zones encourage private investment in new businesses, property development and infrastructure in distressed communities identified by states. Many counties contain areas that designated as Opportunity Zone and are eligible for targeted investment.
In response to the RFI, EDA is seeking public input on how the federal government can better align its various economic development programs and resources to facilitate investment in Opportunity Zones. The RFI includes specific questions such as:
- How can the federal government target and streamline infrastructure programs in qualified Opportunity Zones and other economically distressed communities to create long-term sustainable economic growth?
- How can coordination between federal, state and local capital investment be improved to maximize economic development to the benefit of Opportunity Zones?
- What additional resources or policy changes might communities need to successfully compete for private investment in rural Opportunity Zones?
The public comment period will remain open through October 18, 2019, and instructions for comment submission can be found at this link. Counties are encouraged to share their local perspective on how this proposal could impact their jurisdictions and residents with NACo staff as well as EDA. Please reach out to NACo Associate Legislative Director Daria Daniel with at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or feedback on Opportunity Zones and the RFI.
For more resources on Opportunity Zones, please see the following links:
- Federal Register: Review of DOC Policy in Opportunity Zones
- NACo blog: EDA designates Opportunity Zones as agency priority
- NACo blog: Legislation introduced to measure economic impact of Opportunity Zones