Pennsylvania State Director
Across rural Pennsylvania, people are taking a hard look at what it takes to bring about improvements to infrastructure, quality of life and, of course, economic vitality. What can we do to promote economic growth and create jobs in rural areas? Sometimes, the far-reaching economic benefits of federal assistance are not always apparent. It is critical, however, that we recognize the ripple effect of government resourcesow wee helping create an environment for the success of private businesses and communities. That is especially true here in Pennsylvania.
Although they may go unnoticed, USDA Rural Development programs are providing support that may otherwise be unavailable but absolutely necessary for communities to grow and thrive. USDA funding may be a critical component in your new hospital project, clinic construction, or sewer system improvement plan. It may be a contributing factor in your community library construction project or in a small energy conservation project undertaken by a local farmer or your grocer. It might have funded the ambulance used by the rescue squad to rush your neighbor to a medical facility. Our programs often supply the missing funding needed to promote private investment, infrastructure build-out, affordable housing, and economic development in rural America. We also support business helping with the capital funding they need to start, expand and hire new employees.
You might see the success of our programs when a small business adds jobs to its community. B&I and several other USDA Rural Development programs have expanded capital markets in rural areas where employers driving job creation need business financing options. Last year Pennsylvania Rural Development partnered with lenders to guarantee five loans and help rural businesses across the state move forward despite a difficult economy.
Our programs also boost rural economies by providing affordable financing to homebuyers. According to the National Association of Realtors, the sale of an existing median-priced home generates more than $58,000 in local real estate revenues, retail sales and other economic activity. Given that USDA Rural Development provided over 5,000 Pennsylvania families direct loans and loan guarantees last year, the economic benefits are significant.
Let not forget the important benefits of modern infrastructure and public facilities. To create an environment where economic development is possible, rural communities must offer reliable and affordable water, waste treatment, electric power, telecommunications, health care, emergency services, schools and more. Not only do these critical services improve the quality of life, they also ripple through the community with the creation of associated jobs and an improved ability to attract new employers to the area. USDA programs are also often at work when construction workers are hired to build hospitals and college dormitories. In 2012, we funded 30 community facilities projects, including Endless Mountains Hospital, Highlands Hospital, and Mansfield University new residence hall project. Last year, USDA Rural Development provided financial assistance for ten rural water and waste facilities to install/upgrade water and sewer systems and develop the capacity for growth.
Our programs also boost rural economies by providing affordable financing to homebuyers. According to the National Association of Realtors, the sale of an existing median-priced home generates more than $58,000 in local real estate revenues, retail sales and other economic activity. Given that USDA Rural Development provided 4,428 Pennsylvania families direct loans and loan guarantees last year, the economic benefits are significant.
USDA Rural Development funding has a ripple effect, creating vibrant, economically sustainable communities for residents, leaders, businesses and institutions. USDA is proud to invest in our small towns, to help create jobs, support economic growth and build thriving rural communities where folks want to live, work, raise their families.