Rep. Kelly Invites Secretary Chao to Erie, Advocates BUILD Grant for ‘Connecting Erie’s Waterfront’ Project

May 27, 2020 Issues: Economy and Jobs

Washington, D.C. - Today, Representative Mike Kelly invited U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao to visit the Flagship City to get a in-person view of its economic revitalization and to discuss its future improvement plans.

Read the congressman’s letter to Secretary Chao

Key Excerpts

"Like other cities in the Rust Belt, Erie was hit hard by the devastating effects of deindustrialization and the migration of manufacturing jobs overseas. Regionally, there had been little optimism regarding a resurgence of manufacturing or having new businesses established here. These circumstances have dramatically changed in the past few years, however, through the creation of a redevelopment plan, which has helped to encourage outside capital investment into neighborhoods once abandoned."

"The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) recently applied for a BUILD grant that would help to ensure that the necessary improvements to the Bayfront Parkway become a reality. Currently, more than $600 million in private investment is occurring in the neighborhoods and business district adjacent to this project. For this reason, I have submitted a letter of support to your office for your review. Awarding a BUILD grant to the project “Connecting Erie’s Waterfront” would bring critical infrastructure upgrades to capitalize on the private investment and enhance Erie’s success story."

"It would be an honor for me to personally showcase to you the transformation that is currently taking place and what further federal infrastructure investment in the city would accomplish."


Notwithstanding the COVID-19 pandemic, Erie is experiencing a dynamic economic resurgence following decades of stagnation because of the decline in the manufacturing sector. Erie’s leadership in using Opportunity Zones, which were established by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, has set an example for the entire nation after breathing life into neighborhoods long-considered unworthy of investment. Representative Kelly is a staunch proponent of Opportunity Zones and an advocate of Erie’s effort to capitalize on available federal funding, including U.S. Department of Transportation grants for infrastructure projects.