Now, Covid-19 is exacerbating existing inequities, especially for these communities that were already struggling before the pandemic.
It shouldn’t be this way. That’s why we’re introducing bold legislation that will make a long-term federal investment and create new jobs in places that consistently have been left behind.
Our legislation aims to address the three main challenges facing these distressed communities:
First, communities that are struggling simply don’t have the capacity to navigate the complex systems of grants and loans across a multitude of federal agencies. Many cannot afford grant writers. That’s why the RECOMPETE Act includes built-in, robust technical assistance from the EDA, which ensures communities have the help they need to design, implement and carry out a comprehensive, long-term economic development strategy.
Second, while one-year grants are helpful, the struggles facing these communities didn’t arise in one year and can’t be solved in one year. They need a sustained approach. That’s why RECOMPETE funding is based on each community’s level of economic distress and provides consistent, longer-term help.
Third, a one-size-fits-all approach just won’t work. Communities’ needs differ. For some, the barrier to growth may be inadequate broadband access or poor freight mobility, in which case they could use these grants for infrastructure development. Others may need more workers with skills in growing industries, so they could use the grants to invest in training. Or, they may need support for the redevelopment of polluted sites, job retention resources like childcare services, or support for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Communities know best what their challenges are, and solutions should be locally led.
When Congress works to pass an upcoming recovery package or an infrastructure package, it’s important that it doesn’t simply amplify existing inequities between communities that have enjoyed tremendous economic growth and others that are being left behind. Rather, we need to make sure that people have economic opportunity — regardless of what zip code they live in.
This bold, innovative agenda will spur widely shared economic growth and create more opportunities for more people in places. We’ve got a chance to make things better — let’s make sure we don’t leave any community behind.