Acting Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $91 million to build or improve community facilities and essential services for nearly 300,000 rural residents in 12 states.
“Modern community facilities are key drivers of economic development,” Baxley said. “Under the leadership of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities in building and maintaining these institutions that are foundational to quality of life and prosperity.”
USDA is funding 16 projects through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. The funding helps rural small towns, cities and communities make infrastructure improvements and provide essential facilities such as public schools, libraries, courthouses, public safety facilities, hospitals, colleges and day care centers. For example:
According to USDA Rural Development State Director Chris Beeker, USDA is supporting two projects in Alabama:
The city of Tuscumbia will use a $350,000 loan to purchase a building to house the Public Works and Street and Sanitation Departments. Currently, they are in separate locations and need more space. Combining them will reduce operating costs and allow for the sale of the existing buildings. This project will serve the city’s 8,423 citizens.
The city of Sheffield will use a $1,500,000 loan to purchase a larger, platform-equipped fire truck. The new truck will provide better fire protection services to a new development coming to Sheffield. The fire department serves 9,039 people in Colbert County.
Other projects announced today are located in Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.
More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes. Applicants and projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less.
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.