United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Dr. Jewel Bronaugh announced on Jan. 26 that USDA is investing $1 billion to build and improve critical community facilities in 48 states, Puerto Rico and Guam (PDF, 449 KB). This infrastructure funding will increase access to health care, education and public safety while spurring community development and building sound infrastructure for people living in rural communities.
Bronaugh highlighted 731 projects that USDA is making in five programs that will fund services in rural rural America. These programs include Community Facilities Direct Loans and Grants, Community Facilities Loan Guarantees, Community Facilities Technical Assistance Training Grants, Community Facilities Disaster Grants, and Economic Impact Initiative Grants. The projects will finance emergency response vehicles and equipment; build or improve hospitals and clinics and help fund other essential community facilities.
Some examples include:
- In Alabama, Medical West Hospital Authority will use $360 million in Community Facilities program funding to build a state-of-the-art, 200-bed hospital. This hospital will feature a 26-room emergency department, 12 operating rooms, eight labor and delivery rooms, and eight multi-purpose rooms. This 405,186- square-foot facility will be strategically located to serve rural west Jefferson County, rural west Tuscaloosa County and other surrounding rural communities. This project will benefit approximately 333,000 rural people in these communities.
- In Iowa, the city of Sabula is receiving a $225,000 Community Facilities Disaster Grant to purchase a fire tanker/pumper truck. The city’s current pumper truck is nearly 20 years old, beyond its useful life and has expired equipment. This project will help the city purchase a new truck and new equipment to improve fire protection services for the city’s 576 residents.
- In Michigan, Munising Memorial Hospital will use a $63,000 Economic Impact Initiative Grant to purchase a mobile x-ray room. The medical equipment will include a computer interface and processing software, as well as the automatic transfer of patient information and reports. This equipment will benefit more than 9,600 rural people.
More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities funding. 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. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/community-facilities/community-facilities-direct-loan-grant-program.
Interested parties should contact their USDA Rural Development state office for information about additional funding, application procedures and eligibility. Also see the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program Guidance Book for Applicants (PDF, 669 KB) for a detailed overview of the application process.