USDA announces investments in facilities that will benefit rural Americans
WASHINGTON – Acting Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley on June 24 announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has more than $2 billion still available this year to invest in community facilities and infrastructure projects in rural areas. Baxley also released the names of 40 rural communities that are receiving a total of $50 million for projects that will benefit 631,000 rural residents in 17 states.
“Modern and accessible education, health care, public safety and municipal services are foundational to quality of life in any community,” Baxley said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities to build the facilities in which these essential services are located, and to improve the infrastructure these services rely on to operate in rural America.”
USDA is making the investments and has additional funding available through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. Interested applicants should contact their USDA Rural Development state office.
The 40 projects Baxley announced June 24 are in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Virginia. For example:
In Kansas, the city of Frankfort is receiving a $265,700 loan to build a truck route for commercial traffic. The new route will redirect traffic around the city. Work will also include improving curbs, gutters, sidewalks and the stormwater drainage system along two city blocks.
The Wilderness Ranch Homeowners Association in Boise, Idaho, is getting a $1.4 million loan to replace the Rush Creek and Water Treatment Plant bridges over Mores Creek. The bridges are unsafe and weight-restricted, making access to the water treatment plant and subdivision very difficult. The new bridges will ensure safe and unrestricted access over Mores Creek for the Wilderness Ranch Homeowners Association’s 678 residents.
Fayette County in Ohio will use a $20 million loan to construct a 54,443-square-foot law enforcement complex to house administrative offices, a 911 call center and a detention center. The existing facilities were constructed in the early 1900s and no longer meet the requirements of modern law enforcement operations. The expanded detention center will help alleviate overcrowding and allow for better separation of male and female internees. Additionally, the new administrative offices and 911 call center will improve operational efficiency first responder times.
More than 100 types of projects are eligible for funding under USDA’s Community Facilities program. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes. Projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less.
USDA will make additional funding announcements in coming weeks. Congress appropriated $2.8 billion for Community Facilities direct loans and grants in fiscal year 2019.
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 cornerstone recommendation of the task force.