Congresswoman Terri Sewell

Representing the 7th District of Alabama

Rep. Sewell Announces Federal Investment Award of Over $1.7 Million to Dredge the Port of Epes Industrial Park

Oct 20, 2020
Press Release
EDA Invests in Livingston & Sumter County, AL to create jobs, establish economic resiliency and promote future investment

Washington, DC- Today, Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) announced the $1.7 million investment award from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to improve access and increase economic opportunities for the Port of Epes Industrial Park in Livingston/Sumter County, AL. The Congresswoman has worked for several years with local officials and the University of West Alabama in their efforts to boost industrial transportation access to promote export development, attract additional investments, support business resilience, and strengthen the economy of the Black Belt.

“I am so excited that the Port of Epes in Livingston has been granted the funding necessary to promote economic opportunity for our workers and families in the Black Belt,” said Rep. Sewell. “There is nothing more important to me than increasing opportunity in my district. That is why I have fought so hard to make Alabama’s Opportunity Zone program work for areas like the Black Belt, where communities will most benefit from investments and job development.”

"We at the Alabama-Tombigbee Regional Commission are excited to learn today that the Economic Development Administration has awarded $1.7 million dollars to the University of West Alabama to improve barge access to the Port of Epes in Sumter County Alabama. This grant which is located in an Opportunity Zone will help create 85 jobs with a $175 million dollar private investment," said John Clyde Riggs, Executive Director of the Alabama-Tombigbee Regional Commission, "Thanks go out to Congresswoman Terri Sewell for her assistance in securing this much needed grant."

“We are immensely appreciative of this grant award from the U.S. Department of Commerce that will allow UWA the opportunity to expand our economic and workforce development efforts for a 10-county rural area that we serve,” said University of West Alabama (UWA) President Ken Tucker. “In 2018, UWA shifted its outreach focus to economic and workforce development, and in a very short time, this division has helped secure nearly $5 million in external funding for the Port of Epes, plus nearly $5 million for other economic and workforce development initiatives in our region.” 

“As a regional university whose mission includes improving the quality of life for the region, UWA has long seen education as an engine that drives economic and workforce development, and this $1.7 million will have a transformative influence on the people of west Alabama and beyond for many years to come,” said Dr. Tina N. Jones, Vice President of UWA’s Division of Economic and Workforce Development. “We are eager to continue our efforts to establish the partnerships and innovative initiatives that will strengthen the impact of this generous investment for our region and rural Alabama.”

“It is critical that we continue to work together with organizations and agencies at every level to provide a foundation for the Black Belt by showcasing all that it has to offer to the rest of the world,” said Allison T. Brantley, director of economic development at UWA. “We want to do far more than merely sustain our economy. We want to match assets, resources, and opportunities in such a way that says to industries and developers not only are we a viable option, but we are the best option.”

The University of West Alabama applied for the EDA investment grant with the Industrial Development Authority of Sumter County. The total investment amount is $1,731,900 with projected 85 jobs created and $175 million in private investment.

EDA grants are awarded through a competitive process based upon the application’s merit, the applicant’s eligibility, and the availability of funds. More information on EDA’s grant process and investment process can be found at