In order to protect more than 1,000 manufacturing jobs in Bloomsburg, U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta (PA-11), U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, and U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey are working to secure a $15 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to fund a flood protection project on the town's west end.
This project would design and construct a flood wall around Autoneum (formerly Rieter Automotive North America) and Windsor Foods, two of Columbia County's largest employers. Both of these manufacturers endure damaging flooding when the Susquehanna River and Fishing Creek overflow their banks.
"These jobs are critically important for the people of Columbia County, and for the local and county economy. If these companies do not receive flood protection, more than 1,000 direct jobs and thousands of related local jobs would be in jeopardy," Rep. Barletta said. "I'm pleased to work with Senator Casey and Senator Toomey to stress to the EDA that this $15 million grant will fund a vitally important flood protection project, and that the people of Columbia County desperately need it."
"Flooding can have a long-lasting impact, not only on people's lives, but on the regional economy as well," said Senator Casey. "This grant will help Bloomsburg families recover, protect jobs and help the local economy, so I urge the EDA to give all due consideration to this proposal."
"Since being sworn into office, I've been meeting and talking with local officials in Columbia County to address the town's flood concerns," Sen. Toomey said. "Without flood protection, more than a thousand jobs in Columbia County will be threatened. If awarded this grant, it will go a long way towards keeping these jobs in Pennsylvania and protecting the citizens of Columbia County. I hope we can move forward with this project as soon as possible."
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration 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 makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.