U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald “DJ” LaVoy recently announced that the department is investing $635 million in 122 projects to improve water systems and wastewater handling services in rural communities in 42 states. USDA is funding the projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program.
The town of Stuckey will use an $728,000 loan and a $1.7 million grant to rehabilitate a ground water well and provide roughly 20,300 feet of water lines to new customers. The investment will provide a safe and reliable source of drinking water to roughly 245 individuals. Without Rural Developments assistance, the town would be unable to finance this project.
“These investments will bring reliable infrastructure to rural communities. They will replace old, fragile, leaking water pipes with new ones and allow upgrades to water handling systems that are decades old, boosting water pressure and cutting water losses. Working with our partners, these investments create jobs and improve public health and safety,” LaVoy said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to partnering with rural communities to help them improve their infrastructure, because when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
The projects announced are in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Eligible applicants include rural cities, towns and water districts. The funds can be used for drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems in rural communities that meet population limits.
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.
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/sc.