Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced this week funding for projects in 40 states, including one in Norborne, to pay for improvements in water and wastewater systems for 200,000-plus rural residents.
The USDA Rural Development program will provide Norborne with a $629,000 grant and an additional $882,000 loan to finance construction of a transmission line from Carrollton to Norborne.
“Rural businesses and residents need access to clean water and modern waste disposal systems. This isn’t just an economic issue, it’s an issue of basic health and safety,” said Vilsack. “Water and wastewater projects like these help safeguard rural access to a modern, working infrastructure, which in turn ensures a decent quality of life and helps attract – and keep – the best and brightest in small towns across America.”
Vilsack noted that passage of a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs bill would help tackle the $2.1 billion backlog of shovel-ready rural water/wastewater projects, and said the bill is vital to rural communities. These are just some of the reasons why Congress should pass a comprehensive bill as soon as possible, he said. Senator Claire McCaskill has also been pushing legislators to approve a farm bill.
With today’s announcement, USDA plans to provide $203 million to finance 74 water and infrastructure improvement projects.
For example, Eagle Butte, S.D., has been selected to receive a $2 million loan/grant combination to upgrade a wastewater treatment system that serves more than 3,000 residents in one of the poorest parts of the state.
In Texas, the El Paso County Water Improvement District #4 is getting a $4.2 million loan/grant combination to install a new water storage tank and nano-filtration system. The project will provide clean, safe water for more than 8,000 residents.
The funding is being provided through USDA Rural Development’s Water and Environmental Program.