Policy Brief

U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA): Support Essential Seed Capital/Gap Financing for Local Job Creation


Urge your members of Congress to support level funding of $301.5 million for the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA) as Congress considers funding for FY 2019. EDA funding is important to counties because it helps local communities achieve long-term economic growth based on local and regional priorities.


The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is the only federal agency with a mission solely focused on private sector job creation in distressed areas. EDA has achieved an impressive track record of making strategic investments and building partnerships that help regions and communities respond to shifts in international markets, address severe unemployment challenges and recover from plant closures, major natural disasters and other chronic and sudden and severe economic hardships. At a time when the nation must make the public sector investments necessary to compete in the global economy, the flexibility, partnership structure and accountability of EDA’s programs should be at the forefront of the federal toolbox.

EDA’s portfolio of economic development infrastructure, business development finance, regional innovation strategies and public-private partnerships are tailored to support the unique needs of each region. EDA-funded projects are awarded on a competitive basis and typically require a 50 percent local match and significant private sector investment, helping to ensure projects have local support and are part of a broader regional strategy.

Currently, EDA is funded at $301.5 million under FY 2018 appropriations. This is $25.5 million above the FY 2017 level.

President Trump’s FY 2019 budget proposed to eliminate funding for EDA as part of the administration’s goal to reduce the federal debt and align federal spending with what the administration sees as the proper role of the federal government.


  • EDA focuses solely on private sector job creation and economic growth. EDA investments target high quality jobs, especially in advanced manufacturing, science and technology and emerging knowledge-based industries and sectors.
  • EDA’s infrastructure investments are targeted at essential facilities and assets like water and wastewater systems, middle mile broadband networks, workforce training centers, business incubators, intermodal facilities and science and research parks.
  • EDA’s grants are awarded on a competitive basis, based on regional comprehensive economic development strategies (CEDs), and are developed and prioritized by local communities. This helps ensure that projects have significant local support and are part of a broader regional plan, rather than isolated, uncoordinated local projects.
  • Under federal law, EDA projects typically require a 50 percent local cost share and significant private sector investment, ensuring that local leaders and businesses are committed to the project’s success.
  • EDA grants are critical for county economic development, particularly in rural areas, where such resources are often scarce.
  • EDA must focus on investments to the nation’s most distressed areas and those areas suffering from sudden or severe economic dislocation.

For further information, contact: Daria Daniel at 202.942.4212 or ddaniel@naco.org