I’m thrilled to welcome everyone to the very first meeting of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council. The Opportunity and Revitalization Council is a very important event in the White House. The Council will focus its efforts on economically distressed communities across the country, including Opportunity Zones – which are, as you know, up and running and doing incredibly well, beyond expectation – which we are designated by our nation’s governors under a crucial provision of our new tax cuts.
Specifically, EDA has already issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity for public works and economic adjustment assistance programs to make all entities within the qualified Opportunity Zones generally available for EDA funds. Florida has 427 Opportunity Zones, and the state economic development team has now agreed to plan the rollout of the Opportunity Zones as a master tool to encourage investment in those communities.
Earlier in the week, you had a great event here at the White House on FIRST STEP – a concept that you championed, that you pushed through Congress, that you signed into law – and to these prison reform reentry programs that are going to be able to bring people who – because of the program that you championed and that you passed on FIRST STEP – to give these people coming out of prison the opportunity to go into an Opportunity Zone.
SECRETARY CHAO: Well, at the Department of Transportation, we have 10 grants that are a total of $2.3 billion, and we are incorporating the principles of the Opportunity Zones into these grants so that recipients will think more about these grants and how to incorporate the Opportunity Zones into what they’re doing.