In 1989 WARC's seven-county region was designated an Economic Development District (EDD) by the Economic Development Administration (EDA). The administration approved the region's Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) prepared by the commission in cooperation with a strategy committee comprised of members from each county. The plan presents a detailed look at the resources, opportunities, problems and needs of the region as well as planned economic development projects and programs. The plan is subject to periodic revision to reflect changing conditions and needs throughout Region 2.
Since 1984 the commission has received planning grants from the Economic Development Administration to aid member governments. In addition, member governments have been eligible to apply for funds for public works projects such as access roads, rail spurs, port facilities, and water and sewer facilities that result in the creation or retention of jobs.
Local governments applying for EDA funds must provide matching funds.