Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $331 million in 85 projects that will improve water and wastewater infrastructure in rural areas in 39 states and American Samoa. Community infrastructure investments are a key piece of USDA’s mission to support America’s rural communities, and these investments build on the $13.9 billion USDA has invested over the course of the Obama Administration to support 5,825 water and waste infrastructure projects that currently benefit 19.5 million rural residents.
“Strategic investments like these into community infrastructure provide a path to rural economic growth,” Vilsack said. “Water and wastewater upgrades protect the health and safety of those who live and work in rural areas, and are especially critical given today’s aging infrastructure in areas that have not fully benefited from rural America’s economic rebound. Modernizing water and wastewater systems improves the quality of life and can help attract jobs to rural communities.”
USDA is providing $264 million in loans and $67 million in grants through Rural Development’s Water & Environmental Programs. These programs provide assistance and financing to develop drinking water and waste disposal systems for communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.
Five projects were awarded funding in Texas including Aqua Water Supply Corporation, Black Rock Water Supply Corporation, Fort Griffin Special Utility District, the City of Quitaque, and White River Municipal Water District.
“Rural Development is pleased to offer funding to these five communities,” said Paco Valentin, USDA Rural Development State Director. “Water is one of the most pressing public health concerns and is essential for long-term sustainability. By utilizing these funds, these communities will have improved water infrastructure to support economic and population growth.”
Of the 5 projects announced, 2 are located in StrikeForce areas, and 1 is also located in an area of Persistent Poverty.
Funding for each project announced today is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan, grant or loan/grant agreement.
Since 2009, USDA Rural Development (@USDARD ) has invested $13.9 billion for 5,825 water and waste infrastructure projects, benefiting 19.5 million rural residents; invested nearly $13 billion to start or expand nearly 112,000 rural businesses; helped 1.1 million rural residents buy homes; funded nearly 9,200 community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care facilities; and helped bring high-speed Internet access to nearly 6 million rural residents and businesses. USDA also has invested $38.2 billion in 1,057 electric projects that have financed more than 198,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines serving 4.6 million rural residents. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/results.
To read more about USDA’s investments in rural America and its successful turnaround, visit USDA’s entry on Medium.com, Rural America Is Back in Business.