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U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $2.2 Million to Replace Critical Railroad Infrastructure and Support Job Creation in West Plains, Missouri

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2.2 million grant to the city of West Plains, Missouri, to make critical railroad infrastructure improvements to support job creation and economic resiliency efforts. This EDA project, to be matched with $3.9 million in other federal, state, and local funds, is expected to create 50 jobs and generate $31.4 million in private investment.

“President Biden is committed to supporting communities in developing safe and resilient infrastructure to serve businesses and create American jobs,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “This project will improve transportation safety in the region and will mitigate negative impacts of flooding, improving business resiliency and creating a stronger regional economy.”

“The Economic Development Administration is pleased to support the city of West Plains as it works to create sustainable infrastructure for the community,” said Craig Buerstatte, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Regional Affairs.“This EDA investment in the city of West Plains will replace an at-grade railroad crossing on Highway 160 with a bridge and overpass, improving access to businesses and creating jobs.”

“This award announcement is great news for the West Plains community, the local economy, and our state,” Governor Mike Parson said. “Public investments in infrastructure like this one spark millions more in private investment and are critical to expanding workforce opportunities and advancing our economy.”

“This announcement is great news for West Plains,” said Senator Roy Blunt. “The new bridge and overpass will help prevent flood-related road closures that have disrupted local businesses at the critically important industrial park. I’m glad this funding will help the community get the resources it needs to complete a project that has been a years-long priority.” 

“Bringing new construction projects to the City of West Plains is a personal mission of mine. The frequent railroad traffic not only halts traffic, it halts the local economy,” said Congressman Jason Smith (MO-08). “This grant will help us build an overpass that will help local Missourians travel faster and spur new economic development. More importantly this overpass will improve safety, allowing for the passage of emergency vehicles that are all too often stopped due to trains on the railway. It also allows the city’s third-largest employer, DRS Land Systems, the ability to move forward with their expansion plan that will create new jobs in the West Plains area.”

This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the South Central Ozark Council of Governments (SCOCOG). EDA funds SCOCOG to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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