Harder Pushes US Economic Development Agency to Support Crows Landing Project
Modesto, CA – Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) is pushing to secure federal funding for the proposed Crows Landing Business Park project. The project, supported by Stanislaus County and many local stakeholders, would redevelop the former Crows Landing Airfield into a regional business park which will create up to 15,000 new jobs by attracting local investment. In a letter to Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce Wynn Coggins, Rep. Harder requested the United States Economic Development Agency (EDA) match Stanislaus County’s investment of $7.5 million in the first phase of the project, helping make much-needed water infrastructure improvements.
“This is exactly the kind of project we need to invest in here in the Valley – it will create thousands of good-paying jobs and provide more opportunity close to home instead of in the Bay Area,” said Rep. Harder. “But this project can’t even get off the ground without federal support. We got it done for VOLT, and we’ll do everything we can to get it done for this project.”
The first portion of the project’s phase one will focus on making key water infrastructure improvements. For this portion of the project, Stanislaus County has pledged $7.5 million – and the County hopes to secure a federal match of another $7.5 million to kickstart the project.
Last year, Rep. Harder successfully pushed EDA to approve a grant request of nearly $1 million – the largest investment by the organization to Stanislaus County in history – to support the VOLT Institute in Modesto.
The text of the letter is below and an original version is available here.
Dear Ms. Coggins,
Thank you for your attention to this critical matter. With the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, millions of Americans are currently jobless, and it is imperative that steps are taken to invest in much-needed job creation. I write to request robust federal funding for the development of the Crows Landing Industrial Park in Stanislaus County, California.
After the Great Recession of 2008, my district was one of the hardest hit in the country and one of the last to recover from the recession’s devastating economic effects. We are once again experiencing economic impacts due to the current pandemic with approximately 1 in 10 individuals unemployed in Stanislaus County (the County). Economic development is needed now more critically than ever.
The Crows Landing Industrial Park project would enable businesses to engage in mutually beneficial public-private partnerships with the County and create more than 14,000 local jobs – jobs that are vitally needed to recover from the COVID-19 crisis. This project also meets the objectives of the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Programs as a result of its ability to: create and retain jobs, advance innovation, enhance manufacturing capacities, provide workforce development opportunities, and grow economies that attract foreign direct investment. As one of the state’s most severely economically distressed regions, the area is ripe for advancing economic opportunities and makes for a sound federal investment. As one of EDA’s designated Opportunity Zones, the project further qualifies for the program’s maximum 80 percent federal cost share contribution.
The County needs federal aid to upgrade failing water infrastructure for this project to advance. Over the past five years, Stanislaus County has already invested several million dollars in the project’s pre-planning and design. The project now requires $15 million for final engineering, design and construction.
The County is dedicating $7.5 million in funding for the new water system. An additional $7.5 million is needed for the water infrastructure upgrade and I request EDA Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Programs including CARES Act Funds at a 50 percent of federal cost share of $7.5 million for the project.
The first phase of the project’s development project is expected to rapidly benefit the County’s economy by adding over 1,300 new jobs within five years after the water system is completed. As a result, EDA’s investment would have a near-term job creation benefit at a cost of less than $5,800 per job with even greater economic dividends over the longer term as the project’s full build-out occurs and over 14,000 people work daily at the Crow’s Landing Industrial Park.
The economic crisis felt in many communities across the country underscores your agency’s vitally important role in providing aid to develop land, create jobs, and foster economic growth. I hope we can work together to ensure this critically important project receives the federal support it deserves. Thank you for your consideration of my funding request and I look forward to your response.