Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that USDA is investing $392 million (PDF, 238 KB) to help rebuild and improve rural water and wastewater infrastructure in 42 states, including Alabama.
“Put simply, modern and reliable water infrastructure is foundational to quality of life and economic development,” Hazlett said. “USDA’s partnerships with rural communities underscore Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s commitment to rural people and the places they call home.”
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.
Chris Beeker, state director of USDA Rural Development in Alabama, stated three of the 120 infrastructure projects serve Alabama communities:
Friendship Water Works is receiving a $318,000 loan and a $212,000 grant to replace a water main in Tallassee that has experienced frequent breaks and leaks. Replacing the water main will increase the reliability of water service in this community of 4,800 and help reduce system maintenance costs.
The town of Kinston will use a $774,000 loan and a $551,000 grant to drill a well to provide a local source of water for this public water system.Kinston currently purchases all its water from a neighboring community. The town previously received a $30,000 grant from USDA Rural Development to determine the feasibility of this project. Kinston, located in Coffee County, has a population of more than 1,700.
The town of Myrtlewood is receiving a $2,185,000 loan and a $1,743,000 grant to install radio-read meters, upgrade computer monitoring systems, purchase related equipment and make repairs to a water tank and water mains. These upgrades will contribute to more efficient system operations in this small, rural town of 2,700.
In addition to Alabama, USDA is making investments in rural communities in: 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, Tennessee, 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 USDA Rural Development’s state or 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.