Harrisburg, Pa., Oct. 8, 2018 – Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $181 million in 88 projects that will build community infrastructure and facilities in 27 states.
“Infrastructure is a foundation for quality of life and economic opportunity in small towns across our country,” Hazlett said. “Under the leadership of Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to building prosperity in rural America through modern infrastructure.”
Hazlett announced the funding during a forum co-sponsored by the National Association of Counties and the National Association of Development Organizations Research Foundation. USDA is making the investments through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. The funding helps rural areas make infrastructure improvements and provide essential facilities such as schools, libraries and day care centers. For example:
In McKean County, The Kane Volunteer Fire Department will use a $250,000 loan and $50,000 grant to purchase a replacement fire department water tanker and related equipment.
In Wayne County, The Wayne Highlands School District will use a $342,000 loan and $50,000 grant to construct a greenhouse for a controlled environment agriculture aquaponics system. The greenhouse will be located adjacent to the school. It will support local producers and help expand agricultural productivity in Wayne County.
In Centre County, Centre Care, Inc. will use a loan of $34,049,000 for the site acquisition and construction of a 240-bed, three-story skilled nursing facility. The new facility will replace an outdated building.
In Schuylkill County, the City of Pottsville will use a $5,014,500 loan for the construction of a multilevel parking garage. Additional funding includes a $2,800,000 Yuengling donation, a $750,000 Greater Pottsville Area Sewer Authority loan, and $3,094 in applicant contributions.
In Montgomery County, Schwenksville Borough will use a loan of $1,049,890 to renovate the old fire station that will be repurposed to serve as the borough administration and community building. The renovated building will provided improved civic services to the nearly 1,400 residents of Schwenksville.
The projects announced today will help improve the quality of life for 1.1 million rural residents in Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.
More than 100 types of projects are eligible for 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. Loan amounts have ranged from $10,000 to $165 million.
The Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Omnibus spending bill increased the budget for the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant 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 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.