USDA says rural communities can apply for loans, with $4 billion up for grabs.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced July 30 plans to provide $4 billion in loans to upgrade and rebuild rural water infrastructure.
“USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities in building their futures,” Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett said. “All people — regardless of their ZIP code — need modern, reliable infrastructure to thrive, and we have found that when we address this need, many other challenges in rural places become much more manageable.”
The funding is provided through the USDA’s Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program.
Financing improvements for drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems are among the eligible projects for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents. These eligible rural communities and water districts can apply online for funding to maintain, modernize or build water and wastewater systems. They can also apply through one of USDA Rural Development’s state or field offices.
Congress provided funding for water and wastewater infrastructure this year, with the 2018 Omnibus spending bill including $5.2 billion for USDA loans and grants. The bill directs Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to make investments in rural communities with the greatest infrastructure needs.
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.
The Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program provides funding for clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary sewage disposal, sanitary solid waste disposal, and stormwater drainage to households and businesses in eligible rural areas.
Eligible applicants include most state and local governmental entities, private nonprofits and federally recognized tribes.
According to the USDA, the funds may be used to finance the acquisition, construction or improvement of the following:
• drinking water sourcing, treatment, storage and distribution
• sewer collection, transmission, treatment and disposal
• solid waste collection, disposal and closure
• stormwater collection, transmission and disposal
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