|(OCTOBER 27, 2010) AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT MAKES TREMENDOUS IMPACT IN RURAL IOWA|
|USDA Rural Development able to provide affordable housing, build critical rural infrastructure, provide jobs and access to capital, and extend high-speed broadband services due to ARRA funding.|
|Des Moines, IA, Oct 27, 2010
@@Contact: Darin Leach, Public Information Coordinator
Phone: (515) 284-4747 (office); (515) 669-5691 (cell) FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Makes Tremendous Impact in Rural Iowa
By Bill Menner, USDA Rural Development State Director in Iowa
DES MOINES, Iowa – October 27, 2010 – Recently, there has been much discussion of the impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), better known to most as the “stimulus” package.
Here in Iowa, there is little to debate. Its impact, especially from the perspective of USDA Rural Development, has been tremendous.
Nationwide, USDA Rural Development received $21 billion in Recovery Act funding. That allowed the agency to make unprecedented investments in rural infrastructure, housing, broadband and economic development.
A just-released USDA report on ARRA estimates that millions of business owners, agricultural producers and internet users, along with thousands of homeowners are benefitting. And more than 300,000 jobs are being created or saved. The job estimates contained in the report are derived from recipient-reported data or program-based economic models.
But let’s look at the impact on the state of Iowa. Thanks to the Recovery Act, more than $364 million that otherwise would not have been invested allowed USDA Rural Development to provide affordable housing, build critical rural infrastructure, provide jobs and access to capital, and extend high-speed broadband services.
Recovery Act Impacting Rural Iowa … page 2
Between early 2009, when President Obama signed the Recovery Act into law, and the end of the Act on September 30, 2010, USDA Rural Development used those funds to assist in mortgage loans and loan guarantees worth $105 million for 1,157 Iowa homeowners.
One of these loans helped a Clarion family achieve the American Dream and purchase a home this year. Pedro Garcia Martinez and his wife, Amparo, moved to the United States 10 years ago. The family lived as a tenant in a home arranged through our agency’s Farm Labor Housing program. While this program was extremely helpful, they are truly excited to gain equity in their future and feel more secure in owning a home of their own.
We made significant investments in infrastructure, from Southern Iowa Rural Water Association system expansions to a public safety building in Monticello, to a major hospital expansion in Belmond. Those projects will impact the local communities for decades to come.
USDA Rural Development is also in the job-creation and economic-revitalization business. We provide assistance in the form of loans, grants and loan guarantees. Our loan guarantees encourage local banks to finance local businesses by mitigating banks’ risk, helping farmers and small businesses get the capital they need. In Iowa, we committed $76 million through 23 separate projects.
GMT Corporation, headquartered in Waverly with a production facility in Nashua, received $10 million in guaranteed loans to refinance debt owed to various lenders, purchase new equipment, rehire employees who had been laid off and create new jobs.
And, we continue to address the significant digital divide that exists in rural Iowa. The Recovery Act included billions for the expansion of broadband services into un-served and underserved rural areas. Iowa received $118 million of those funds, which will mean faster speeds and greater economic opportunity in the areas that will be served.
Recovery Act Impacting Rural Iowa … page 3
For example, Winnebago Cooperative Telecom Association received a $9.8 million loan and a $9.8 million grant to assist with a fiber-to-the-premises broadband deployment project that will provide high-speed internet service to 21 communities in Iowa and Minnesota. This network will offer service to 3,380 homes and potentially 8,000 people along the Iowa-Minnesota border.
The battle to resuscitate our economy continues even after the culmination of the Recovery Act. Unemployment remains too high and the lives of average Americans have not returned to normal. But the jobs that were preserved and created, the homes that were purchased, the community facilities that were built, and the businesses that were funded will serve as a lasting testament to the courage and foresight of the President and the Congress who stepped up at a moment of crisis.
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Bill Menner was appointed USDA Rural Development State Director in Iowa in July 2009. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.
For more information about finance programs through USDA Rural Development, please call (515) 284-4663 or visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/ia.
USDA Rural Development has 11 offices across the state to serve the 1.9 million Iowans living in rural communities. Office locations include a State Office in Des Moines, along with Area Offices in Albia, Atlantic, Humboldt, Indianola, Iowa Falls, Le Mars, Mount Pleasant, Storm Lake, Tipton and Waverly.
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