Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $256 million in 81 projects to improve water and wastewater infrastructure in rural areas in 35 states.
“No matter what zip code you live in, infrastructure is a foundation for quality of life and economic opportunity,” Hazlett said. “Through strong partnerships, USDA is ensuring that rural communities have the modern, reliable infrastructure they need to prosper.”
During her keynote address at the Arkansas Rural Development conference, Hazlett spoke about USDA’s longstanding partnership with state and local officials to improve the quality of life in rural communities.
In Mississippi, CS&I Water Company, Inc. received funding totaling $327,000. This funding will be used to paint the 100,000-gallon elevated tank and replace the current meters with radio read meters. Installing the meters will provide more accurate reading of member meters, eliminate the dangers involved with manual meter reading along busy Highway 61, and provide assistance in water conservation as significant surges can be identified quicker and water line breaks can be repaired in a more timely and efficient manner. These measures will ensure that customers have a safe and clean water supply. They also will increase revenues to the system without a rate increase.
The recently enacted Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Omnibus spending bill includes a significant boost in financial support for water and wastewater projects. It provides $5.2 billion for USDA loans and grants, up from $1.2 billion in FY 2017. It also directs Agriculture Secretary Perdue to make investments in rural communities with the greatest infrastructure needs. In addition to funding in the 2018 Omnibus bill, President Trump has proposed a $200 billion infrastructure investment that allocates 25 percent ($50 billion) to rural projects. The loans and grants Hazlett announced today are being awarded through USDA’s Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. The funds can be used to finance drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.