Temple, Texas, Jun 01, 2012 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today released a report highlighting the ways in which infrastructure investments in rural communities help create jobs and boost economic development. He also announced additional investments that will create jobs and promote economic growth across the nation.
“Quality hospitals, schools and libraries are the building blocks for a vibrant rural America,” said Vilsack. "Today’s announcement illustrates how the Obama Administration is leveraging Rural Development’s investments to ensure that that rural communities can compete in the global economy.”
“USDA is pleased to provide Community Facilities funding to help communities in rural Texas create jobs, stimulate local economies and provide improved public services to their residents,” said Paco Valentin, USDA Texas State Director. “Today’s announcement provides funding that will help rural areas keep pace with the needs of their rising populations.”
Since fiscal year 2009, USDA Rural Development’s Community Facilities Program has helped an estimated 30 million rural Americans address essential challenges in health care, education, public service and public safety by financing projects through loans, grants, or loan guarantees. Specifically in Texas, over 1.1 million people have benefited through funding from the Community Facilities program. Over $57 million has been awarded throughout Texas to improve healthcare facilities and equipment, almost $10 million has been granted to libraries, schools and museums to increase educational offerings throughout rural communities, while over $44 million was invested to purchase or maintain emergency response vehicles and repair or build public safety facilities. Additionally, almost $43 million has been awarded to Texas rural communities to repair, maintain or build new public infrastructure, transportation systems, farmers markets and food pantries.
Vilsack announced that 38 Community Facilities investments in 21 states are being awarded funding to continue the Administration’s commitment to help create jobs and improve the economy. Two recipients in Texas were announced and awarded $50,000 in grants to be used to increase the security of rural communities in Bowie and Media Counties.
Bowie County is favorable to tornadoes, high winds, and hail storms. Early detection and warning of approaching storms is imperative to ensure the safety of its residents. Currently, the City of Redwater, in Bowie County, does not have any early warning system. Rural Development Community Facilities funds were announced today to purchase an early warning system that will cover the City of Redwater and the Redwater Independent School District service area. The strategic placement of the sirens will provide protection of life and property to almost 900 Redwater citizens by providing effective early warning capabilities to the community.
The City of Hondo, in Medina County, was awarded a grant to purchase two new vehicles for the City’s police department. With an increase in staffing to help protect citizens, and an inventory of older, high mileage vehicles, the Hondo Police Department was in need of newer, more reliable vehicles. The new police cars will be used to protect a rural population of almost 8,000 residents.
USDA Rural Development’s Community Facilities Program supports essential infrastructure and services for public use in rural areas of 20,000 in population or less. Financing for Community Facilities projects covers a broad range of interests, including healthcare, education, public safety, and public services. There are three major Community Facilities Programs: Community Facilities Direct and Guaranteed Loan Programs, Community Facilities Grants, and the Rural Community Development Initiative.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $165 billion in affordable loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.