USDA Rural Housing Service Administrator Bruce Lammers today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $52 million in 45 community facilities projects that will benefit nearly 200,000 rural residents in 16 states. Rural Development State Director Curt Coccodrilli announced that Pennsylvania will invest over $580,000 in loans and grants to five projects.

   “USDA Rural Development is committed to partnering with rural communities to build the facilities that provide essential services to those who depend on them,” Coccodrilli said. “Our rural communities thrive when modern and accessible education, health care, public safety and municipal services are available. This provides a foundation for growth and prosperity.”

   USDA is making the investments and has additional funding available through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. Interested parties should contact their USDA Rural Development state office for application and eligibility details.

   The 45 projects that USDA announced today are in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin. Here are some examples in Pennsylvania:

Homer City Borough will use a loan of $35,400 and a grant of $19,200 to purchase a Ford Utility Police Interceptor AWD equipped with first responder equipment. The Borough needs this new vehicle to add to their K9 unit and eventually replace their current vehicle that has high mileage. Thompson Hose Company will receive a $94,300 loan and $50,000 grant to purchase a new four-wheel drive ambulance. The applicant currently owns an old ambulance and would like to replace it due to the continued mechanical problems. The company was worried the ambulance could break down in an emergency. Tremont Borough will use a loan of $35,600 and a grant of $43,500 to purchase a police interceptor and a dump truck. The current vehicles are older and have high mileage and will not pass inspection, therefore the borough needs new vehicles. The dump truck will provide street maintenance and the police interceptor will help expand their patrol unit. This project will benefit the residents of the borough and the township of Frailey.

   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.

   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.

   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.

   To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view theRural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).