Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that USDA is investing $392 million to help rebuild and improve rural water and wastewater infrastructure in 42 states. Rural Development State Director Jim Tracy announced that over $30 million of those funds will be invested in Tennessee.
“Many times clean water may be taken for granted, but it is vital to the livability of a community,” Tracy said. “We are happy to partner with Tennessee rural communities to ensure they have the necessary water infrastructure to meet the needs of citizens and businesses.”
USDA is supporting investments in 120 infrastructure projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. It can be used to finance drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents. In many cases, states, other federal partners and nonprofits are working with USDA to also provide funding for these projects.
Hazlett announced the awards here today during the Water Pro Conference hosted by the National Rural Water Association. Below are the types of investments USDA is making to improve infrastructure in Tennessee:
The City of Paris will use a $7.2 million loan and a $1 million grant for the construction of a new water treatment plant. A filter building with new pumps will also be constructed.Service will be upgraded for 5,060 users and three wholesale customers.
The Hallsdale-Powell Utility District will use a $21.8 loan to fund a total of 36 projects in Knox, Union, and Anderson Counties. The Hallsdale-Powell Utility District water system has aging infrastructure and many of the sections to be replaced are 30 to 40 years old. Once these projects are complete, the overall reliability and performance of the system will be improved, in turn, improving the public health and safety provided by the system.
USDA is also making investments in rural communities in: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansans, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming.
In FY 2018, Congress provided a historic level of funding for water and wastewater infrastructure. The 2018 Omnibus spending bill includes $5.2 billion for USDA loans and grants, up from $1.8 billion in FY 2017. The bill also directs Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to make investments in rural communities with the greatest infrastructure needs.
Eligible rural communities and water districts can apply online for funding to maintain, modernize or build water and wastewater systems. They can visit the interactive RD Apply tool, or they can apply through one of Tennessee’s USDA Rural Development’s field offices.
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/tn.