LITTLE ROCK, Ark., – 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, including Washington State.
“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. She met with various representatives on issues important to rural Arkansas residents and businesses, such as ways USDA is partnering with local communities to support opioid treatment, prevention and recovery services. She also highlighted USDA efforts to support e-Connectivity.
Washington State is receiving two of the 81 rural water and wastewater infrastructure projects Hazlett announced.
- The City of South Bend in Pacific County will receive $3 million to upgrade the city's water treatment plant. The city will add a third skid and update or replace the current filtration system's pumps to be able to provide adequate water capacity and quality to the 1,637 residents of South Bend.
- In Pend Oreille County, the City of Newport will receive $1.43 million to replace old pipes, build storage capacity, and improve the water quality for the city’s 2,118 residents.
“President Trump has made it a priority to rebuild American infrastructure and forge a path towards greater prosperity,” said Kirk Pearson, State Director for Rural Development in Washington State. “This funding will benefit two Washington State communities and reaffirms the President’s goals and our commitment to improving the quality of life for rural Americans.”
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.
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.