Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $237 million in 119 rural community service facilities in 29 states.
“At USDA, we believe in rural America and in the promise of small towns and the people who call them home,” Hazlett said. “Under Secretary Perdue’s leadership, we are committed to being a strong partner to local leaders in building healthy, prosperous futures for their communities.” Hazlett announced the funding following a meeting here of the Western Governors Association. USDA is supporting these quality-of-life projects through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. For example, in Pennsylvania:
Beaver Meadows Borough is receiving a $245,400 loan and $43,000 grant to reconstruct 950 feet of Borough streets (700 feet of Beaver Street and 250 feet of Dean Street). The streets have become a public safety hazard. They will undergo full-depth reconstruction with the addition of base drains along the curbs.
The Borough of Frackville is receiving a $17,300 loan and $21,200 grant to purchase a 2018 Ford Interceptor police vehicle and radio to be utilized primarily by the police chief, a member of the Schuylkill County Drug Task Force, to combat the ongoing opioid epidemic in the county.
The Borough of Mercer is receiving a $44,000 loan and $22,800 grant to purchase a new Ford F450 cab and chassis and the purchase and installation of a dump box, plow and spreader. The dump truck is needed to maintain safe roads for the Borough residents. Their existing vehicle is showing major signs of wear and is too costly to repair.
The Borough of Towanda is receiving a $50,000 loan and $37,600 grant to purchase a 580 SN WT Case 580 Backhoe. The existing backhoe is 20 years old and is showing major signs of wear and is too costly to repair. Additional funding includes a $14,952 applicant contribution $5,000 in prepaid legal expenses.
Bamberg County is receiving a $230,000 loan and a $50,000 grant to purchase a new fully equipped fire pumper tanker for use by the Fire Department in Zone 3 of Bamberg County. The new pumper truck will replace a tanker in the aging Zone 3 fleet.
The projects that are being announced today will help improve the quality of life in rural communities in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
More than 100 types of projects are eligible for USDA Community Facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally and state-recognized Native American tribes. Applicants and projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less. There is no limit on the size of the loans. Loan amounts have ranged from $10,000 to $165 million.
The 2018 Omnibus bill increased the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget for the Community Facilities Direct Loan program to $2.8 billion, up $200 million from FY 2017.
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 services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.