U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald “DJ” LaVoy today announced that USDA is investing $139 million in 56 projects to improve community facilities and provide essential services for 3.3 million rural residents in 23 states.
“Modern, accessible and reliable community infrastructure, public safety facilities, schools and health facilities are essential components to strong and prosperous communities,” LaVoy said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner in building and modernizing these facilities in rural America, because we believe that when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
In Pennsylvania today, State Director Curt Coccodrilli announced over $5 million in 5 projects that will benefit 11,000 rural residents. “These investments in essential community infrastructure will improve the quality of life and address the critical needs of our rural residents,” Coccodrilli said.
USDA is making the investments through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. Interested parties should contact the Pennsylvania USDA Rural Development state office for information about additional funding, application procedures and eligibility details. Also see the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program Guidance Book for Applicants, a detailed overview of the application process.
Here are examples of local investments:
- The Borough of Jim Thorpe will use a loan of $2,499,720 to construct a new public works facility which will be located at 701 West Broadway, Carbon County, Pa. and will relocate the borough's public works services out of town. The current facility is located at the end of E. 10th Street which is in town. Moving the garage facility to borough-owned property will eliminate the public works traffic from the park area thereby increasing the safety of the park users. Once the new facility is occupied, the old facility will be demolished.
- The Borough of Jim Thorpe is receiving a $2,247,060 loan to convert Memorial Hall into a combined police station, administrative office and community center. The current facility has a single entrance through which all public, employee, police and criminal traffic flows. The new facility will have separate entrances that will greatly increase safety for visitors and employees.
- Homer City Borough will use a loan of $35,400 and grant of $19,200 to purchase an all-wheel drive police car equipped with first responder equipment. The borough needs this new vehicle to add to their K9 unit and eventually replace their current vehicle that has high mileage.
- Tremont Borough is receiving a $35,600 loan and $43,500 grant that will be used to purchase a police interceptor and a dump truck. The current vehicles are older and have high mileage and will not pass inspection. The dump truck will provide street maintenance and the police interceptor will help expand their patrol unit. This project will benefit the residents of the borough of Tremont and the township of Frailey.
- Thompson Hose Company is receiving a loan of $94,300 and grant of $50,000 to purchase a new four-wheel drive ambulance. The applicant is replacing an old ambulance due to continued mechanical problems that resulted in it being often out of service. The company was also worried the ambulance could break down in an emergency.
More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities program funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes. Projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less.
USDA had $2.8 billion available for Community Facilities direct loans and grants in fiscal year 2019. USDA will make additional funding announcements in coming weeks.
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.
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 cornerstone 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).