Press Releases

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) welcomed Little Rock Port Authority Executive Director Bryan Day to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works to share about the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) impact on growth and development in Central Arkansas as the committee begins crafting legislation to reauthorize the agency.

“Under his leadership, the port has attracted industry from around the world with 50 businesses now calling it home. Together, these businesses employ around 10,000 people and contribute about a half-billion dollars annually to the region,” Boozman said of the growth under Day’s guidance.

In his testimony, Day outlined how infrastructure improvements made with EDA investments drew businesses to the port including Welspun, Amazon and TREX. 

“The EDA has provided $13 million in grants to the Little Rock Port Authority over the past twenty years; this has directly resulted in over $2.5 billion in capital investment and the creation of over 5,000 jobs. I can think of no better return on an investment than what we have accomplished with help from the EDA,” Day said.

It’s been nearly 20 years since Congress reauthorized the agency. As committee members work to strengthen and modernize how the EDA supports communities, Boozman called on Day to share his input on the need to keep applications simple so smaller communities would be able to more easily compete for these funds. 

“We’ve seen success in rural Arkansas. If you have an available property, an available building – a prospect will locate there. But for a community to have to do all the heavy lifting on the front end to manage the grant and then even after the fact, you know. Once you build it, you’re not done with the management of the grant. You have to report annually and keep coming back. That does create challenges,” Day said. “So simple is better.”

Boozman has been a longtime champion of EDA grants and offered his support for projects all across the state that have successfully resulted in economic development, job retention and growth.