Acting Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley today announced that USDA is investing $192 million in 71 projects located across 29 states to improve rural water infrastructure.
“President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue were very clear when they directed Rural Development to identify and meet rural water needs as a foundational pillar in improving rural infrastructure,” Baxley said. “Safe and reliable water infrastructure is critical to the health, safety and economic vitality of rural America. Without access to safe water and functional wastewater treatment, sustainable growth in rural areas is not possible.”
USDA is making the $192 million investment through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. Rural communities, water districts and other eligible entities can use the funds for drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems in rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.
One of the projects included in today’s announcement is the additional funding needed to complete the rehabilitation of the Truth or Consequences, New Mexico wastewater treatment facility.
“Many rural communities like Truth or Consequences need the financial support to provide the needed infrastructure for their residents,” said State Director Arthur A. Garcia. He added, “And by providing the funding we are making sure we are creating jobs, saving the environment and offering a better economic future in rural America.”
This additional $800,600 financing was made because the bids for the construction project were above the obligated amount of $5,230,400. The extra funding will insure the completion of the T or C wastewater treatment plant and delivery system project.
USDA is announcing investments today in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
Congress appropriated $2.9 billion for USDA Water and Environmental Program loans and grants in fiscal year 2019. USDA will make additional funding announcements in coming weeks.
In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.
To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.