Economic Development Access Program
The Economic Development Access (EDA) program is a state-funded incentive to assist localities in providing adequate road access to new and expanding manufacturing and processing companies, research and development facilities, distribution centers, regional service centers, corporate headquarters, and other basic employers with at least 51% of the company’s revenue generated from outside the Commonwealth. EDA is administered by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).
Projects that meet the following criteria are generally eligible:
- Project must be affiliated with a basic employer, meaning 51% or more of the facility’s revenue must be generated outside the Commonwealth.
- Site must not have adequate access (i.e., a publicly maintained road from the primary entrance of the economic development site to the nearest adequate publicly maintained road). Ancillary improvements, such as turn lanes or intersection modifications, may also be warranted as part of the access project, but are not considered the primary objective of the project.
A qualified business establishment looking to locate or expand its operations within a Virginia locality will need to work with the local economic development office or governing body to apply for VDOT’s Economic Development Access program.
- After the qualifying establishment has made a decision to locate on a particular site, the qualifying establishment’s representatives provide the following to the locality with a copy to the VDOT Manager:
- A letter of intent to the locality in which the business would be locating or expanding that includes a description of the business operation; target dates for building completion; target dates for beginning operation; anticipated capital investment in land, buildings, and new equipment; anticipated new employment; type of product manufactured; access road improvements requested; and estimates of the numbers of additional employee vehicles and truck traffic that will use the access road on an average business day.
- A preliminary plan showing the entire parcel of land, with the locations of the building, other major site features, proposed entrance, proposed access road, and existing public roads and highways in the immediate vicinity of the site. If the site is part of an economic development subdivision, all parcels must be delineated and numbered.
- The locality contacts the VDOT Manager regarding the proposed EDA request.
- Local officials request an EDA allocation through a resolution of its governing body and provide a certified copy of the approved resolution to the VDOT Manager. In addition, the locality provides information regarding the business establishment and the proposed access road project to the VDOT Manager.
- The VDOT Manager assembles and reviews information on the project request and business establishment, forwards the recommendation to the District Administrator (with a copy to the Local Assistance Division), confirms the project design meets established standards, and verifies the project cost estimate.
- The VDOT District Administrator reviews the project information and provides a recommendation to the Local Assistance Division.
- The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) reviews the project and establishment information and provides recommendations on the use of EDA funds based on the establishment’s qualifications.
- The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) reviews and determines project allocations and formalizes conditions of the allocation expenditures.
How often and when does the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) meet?
The CTB typically meets on the third Wednesday of each month.
How long does it take for a project to be approved?
An initial request from a local governing body for EDA program funding typically takes four to six months to attain approval by the CTB. Meeting the contingencies of the CTB allocation approval often requires another two or more months. Steps include preparing and approving the local-state agreement, conducting environmental and cultural resources reviews, advertising for bids, awarding a contract, and constructing the road. Initiating the State Environmental Review Process (SERP), if applicable, and coordinating with regulatory agencies may take at least 60 days; however, the time necessary to complete environmental studies that may be required by federal and state laws and obtaining necessary permits can vary significantly, depending on the outcome of initial review.
A number of different local and state government officials and bodies will review each request, some of which, including the CTB, meet once each month.
What types of establishments are eligible for EDA funds?
“Qualifying Establishments” include manufacturing, processing, research and development facilities, distribution centers, regional service centers, corporate headquarters, government installations or similar facilities, or other qualifying establishments that also meet basic employer criteria as determined by VEDP.
How much funding is available for an EDA project?
Subject to available funding, the maximum unmatched allocation to a locality within any one fiscal year is $700,000; allocations may be used for one or more projects. Further, the total amount available statewide under this program is limited by statute. The maximum allocation to any regular project is limited to the lesser of either the reasonable cost of the project or 20% of the qualifying investment made by the qualifying establishment.
What if the maximum allocation is not enough?
When the cost of an individual access project exceeds $700,000, the locality may request up to $150,000 in supplemental funds, which must be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis by a contribution from the general fund of the county, city, or town. Such supplemental state funding shall be limited to 20% of the qualifying investment above $2.5 million, up to $3.25 million. Project costs in excess of the allocation will be the locality’s responsibility.
When can we expect these funds to be spent on a project?
The expenditure of EDA funds for the project will be approved by VDOT only after all contingencies of the CTB’s resolution have been met.
A locally administered project must be authorized, with funding approved for expenditure, before VDOT reimburses a locality for eligible costs attributed to project construction. Appropriate documentation of costs and billing information, such as contractor’s payment application and verification of payment, must be provided by the locality.
What are eligible project costs?
“Project Cost” means the allowable costs for which EDA program funds may be utilized. This includes reasonable costs of preliminary engineering and surveying associated specifically with project design and actual construction cost of a roadway built to VDOT standards (or developed in accordance with American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) standards for locality maintained roads) for accommodating the projected traffic.
Any pedestrian or bicycle facility deemed necessary for the project is eligible for funding. Excluded are items such as environmental studies and permits, obtaining right-of-way and relocation of utilities, and traffic impact studies. Optional roadway features other than those determined to be required to meet appropriate design standards, such as roadway lighting or landscaping, may be included in a project provided that the costs of these features are borne by others. Costs incurred (e.g., paid items or those for which a contract or purchase order has been executed) prior to allocation by the CTB are not reimbursable.