Nearly Half of Grant Funds to Assist Persistently Poor StrikeForce Counties
WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2016 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $331 million in 85 projects that will improve water and wastewater infrastructure in rural areas in 39 states and American Samoa. Community infrastructure investments are a key piece of USDA’s mission to support America’s rural communities, and these investments build on the $13.9 billion USDA has invested over the course of the Obama Administration to support 5,825 water and waste infrastructure projects that currently benefit 19.5 million rural residents.
“Strategic investments like these into community infrastructure provide a path to rural economic growth,” Vilsack said. “Water and wastewater upgrades protect the health and safety of those who live and work in rural areas, and are especially critical given today’s aging infrastructure in areas that have not fully benefited from rural America’s economic rebound. Modernizing water and wastewater systems improves the quality of life and can help attract jobs to rural communities.”
USDA is providing $264 million in loans and $67 million in grants through Rural Development’s Water & Environmental Programs. These programs provide assistance and financing to develop drinking water and waste disposal systems for communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.
For example, in South Carolina, the Laurens County Water and Sewer Commission is receiving a $34.8 million USDA loan and a $1.2 million USDA grant to construct a water treatment plant. Currently, the Commission purchases water from three separate water systems, whose infrastructure is aging…
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