WASHINGTON, Dec. 16, 2021 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is investing $5.2 billion to build and improve critical rural infrastructure in 46 states and Puerto Rico (PDF, 279 KB). The investments reflect the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to Building a Better America by investing in rural communities and will help expand access to high-speed internet, clean water and reliable electricity in people’s homes and businesses across rural America.


“When we invest in rural infrastructure, we invest in the livelihoods and health of people in rural America,” Vilsack said. “Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA is committed to Building a Better America by investing in America’s rural infrastructure, expanding access to broadband, clean drinking water and resilient power infrastructure. The investments we are announcing today will drive the creation of good-paying union jobs and grow the economy sustainably and equitably so that everyone gets ahead for decades to come.”


This announcement follows the recent passage of President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and reflects the many ways USDA Rural Development’s programs are helping people, businesses and communities address critical infrastructure needs to help rural America build back better.
For example:

  • In Georgia, Coweta-Fayette EMC will use a $86 million loan under the Electric Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee Program to build and improve 602 miles of line. This loan will help connect 6,629 people to reliable electricity in Troup, Clayton, Fulton, Meriwether, Coweta, Fayette, Spalding and Heard counties. It also includes $9,638,000 in smart grid technologies.
  • In New York, the Village of Boonville will use $7.37 million under the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program to rehabilitate the Mill Creek Interceptor and make improvements to the waste water treatment plant. This project will help improve the health, welfare and safety of the people living in Oneida County.
  • In Alaska, the Interior Telephone Company will use a $2.6 million Community Connect grant to build a 19-mile Fiber-to-the-Premises system. This system will expand access to economic, educational, health care and public safety opportunities for 194 people and 32 businesses in Port Lions, Kodiak Island Borough. Funds also will help build a community center where residents can access the free high-speed internet for up to two years.

Background:
Vilsack highlighted 359 investments that USDA is making in seven programs designed to help people in rural areas access high-speed internet, clean water and dependable electric power. These programs include Community Connect GrantsElectric Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee Program,Telecommunications Infrastructure Loans and Loan GuaranteesWater and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant ProgramWater and Waste Disposal Loan GuaranteesWater and Waste Disposal Technical Assistance and Training Grants and Water and Waste Disposal Predevelopment Planning Grants.


The investments announced today will support rural infrastructure projects in Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Nebraska, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Wyoming and Puerto Rico.


Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans 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, Tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.


USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, promoting competition and fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.

By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Tucker Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.