Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett yesterday 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. Rural Development State Director Jim Tracy announced today that USDA is investing over $2.3 million in six projects in Tennessee.
“In order for rural Tennessee communities to prosper, they must have the proper infrastructure in place to meet the needs of their citizens,” Tracy said. “I am excited that USDA is committed to assisting communities in making infrastructure a priority.”
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. Tennessee projects include:
The City of South Pittsburg will use a $204,500 loan and $38,500 grant to purchase three cars that will be used by the police department, a fire department vehicle and three light duty pick-up trucks that will be used by the public works department. The city will also buy a compact track loader with tilting bucket, brush cutter and street sweeper attachments to better serve a community of 3,000.
The Nolichuckey Valley Volunteer Fire Department will use a $975,000 loan and $47,500 grant to construct a fire hall in Chuckey. This project will establish permanent location for the volunteer fire department, which provides services to about 6,800 residents. Additional funding will be provided by Washington County.
Lewis County will use a $264,000 loan and $50,000 grant to purchase a replacement chip spreader to allow the Lewis County Highway Department to reservice rural county roads.
The Town of Brighton will use a $500,000 loan to purchase a new fire engine and additional equipment to better serve the occupants of approximately 2,735 residential dwellings and three county schools that house 3,100 students and 300 staff.
The Monroe Tri-Community Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. will use a $65,000 loan to purchase a new brush truck. The truck will allow the fire department fight fires in rural and mountainous areas, better serving the 3,000 area residents. Additional funding includes a $15,000 Rural Development Impact Initiative grant.
The City of Mt. Pleasant will use a $170,000 loan to purchase a new mini pumper fire truck to replace a 32 year old vehicle. The truck will be primarily used within the city limits but will also provide mutual aid to surrounding areas on an as needed basis, which would include a total of around 10,000 residents. Additional funding includes $47,500 in Rural Development Economic Impact Initiative grants.
The additional projects announced yesterday 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, 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.