Not later than 90 days after December 21, 2000, and annually thereafter, the Authority, in accordance with such criteria as the Authority may establish, shall designate—
(1) as distressed counties, counties in the region that are the most severely and persistently distressed and underdeveloped and have high rates of poverty or unemployment;
(2) as nondistressed counties, counties in the region that are not designated as distressed counties under paragraph (1); and
(3) as isolated areas of distress, areas located in nondistressed counties (as designated under paragraph (2)) that have high rates of poverty or unemployment.
(b) Distressed counties (1) In general
The Authority shall allocate at least 75 percent of the appropriations made available under section 2009aa–12 of this title for programs and projects designed to serve the needs of distressed counties and isolated areas of distress in the region.
(2) Funding limitations
The funding limitations under section 2009aa–3(b) of this title shall not apply to a project providing transportation or basic public services to residents of one or more distressed counties or isolated areas of distress in the region.
(c) Nondistressed counties (1) In general
Except as provided in this subsection, no funds shall be provided under this subchapter for a project located in a county designated as a nondistressed county under subsection (a)(2).
(2) Exceptions (A) In general
The funding prohibition under paragraph (1) shall not apply to grants to fund the administrative expenses of local development districts under section 2009aa–4(b) of this title.
(B) Multicounty projects
The Authority may waive the application of the funding prohibition under paragraph (1) to—
(i) a multicounty project that includes participation by a nondistressed county; or
(ii) any other type of project;
if the Authority determines that the project could bring significant benefits to areas of the region outside a nondistressed county.
(C) Isolated areas of distress
For a designation of an isolated area of distress for assistance to be effective, the designation shall be supported—
(i) by the most recent Federal data available; or
(ii) if no recent Federal data are available, by the most recent data available through the government of the State in which the isolated area of distress is located.
(d) Transportation and basic public infrastructure
The Authority shall allocate at least 50 percent of any funds made available under section 2009aa–12 of this title for transportation and basic public infrastructure projects authorized under paragraphs (1) and (3) of section 2009aa–2(a) of this title.
7 U.S.C. § 2009aa-5 (2018)