Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that USDA is investing $1.2 billion to help rebuild and improve rural water infrastructure for 936,000 rural Americans living in 46 states including Montana.
“These projects will make a powerful impact in Thompson Falls, Belt, Sheridan, and Scobey,” said Charles Robison, State Director for USDA Rural Development. “By partnering with State agencies, the Trump Administration is able to help these communities make big strides forward in critical infrastructure. Sonny Perdue and President Trump have prioritized rural infrastructure, and the need here was clear. Rebuilding rural infrastructure is critical to rural prosperity and economic growth. I encourage more rural Montana communities take advantage of opportunities to partner with USDA to meet their infrastructure needs.”
USDA is providing financing for 234 water and environmental infrastructure projects nationwide through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. The funding can be used for drinking water, storm water drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents. Eligible communities and water districts can apply online on the interactive RD Apply tool, or they can apply through one of USDA Rural Development’s state or field offices.
Below are some Montana investments USDA is making with today’s announcement:
- In Thompson Falls, 320 new users will be connected to the wastewater treatment and collection system, and improvements will be made to the existing wastewater collection system. The first phase will connect 190 users. The second phase will connect 130 users. An additional project through Sanders County will construct a solid waste transfer station and to make safety and efficiency improvements to container collection sites.
- The city of Belt will replace and/or upgrade three lift stations in their wastewater system. The system serves 285 residential hook-ups and 23 non-residential hook-ups.
- Cast iron water mains serving 615 users within the Scobey will be replaced and upsized. Aging infrastructure had created substantial water system loss, inoperable or out of code fire hydrants, and high mineral levels in water which posed health risks.
- The town of Sheridan will construct a new high-yield well, replacing a well which had experienced a significant decline in water quantity since the July 6, 2017 magnitude 5.8 earthquake.
- The City of Glasgow will be making upgrades to their water treatment facility to address sediment in the water. Additionally, improvements will be made to the pumping and distribution system. This will impact over 1,500 users.
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.