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USDA Invests $5.2 Billion to Build and Improve Critical Rural Infrastructure in 46 States and Puerto Rico

 

Funding will be made to five projects to expand high-speed internet, provide clean water and better land management in rural in New Mexico

 

WASHINGTON, Dec. 16, 2021 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is investing $5.2 billion to build and improve critical rural infrastructure in 46 states and Puerto Rico. The investments reflect the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to Building a Better America by investing in rural communities and will help expand access to high-speed internet, clean water and reliable electricity in people’s homes and businesses across rural America.

 

“When we invest in rural infrastructure, we invest in the livelihoods and health of people in rural America,” Vilsack said. “Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA is committed to Building a Better America by investing in America’s rural infrastructure, expanding access to broadband, clean drinking water and resilient power infrastructure. The investments we are announcing today will drive the creation of good-paying union jobs and grow the economy sustainably and equitably so that everyone gets ahead for decades to come.”

 

This announcement follows the recent passage of President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and reflects the many ways USDA Rural Development’s programs are helping people, businesses and communities address critical infrastructure needs to help rural America build back better.

 

USDA Rural Development State Director Patricia Dominguez added, “As Secretary Vilsack stated when we invest in infrastructure, we invest in the people of rural America and the projects we are funding in New Mexico does exactly that.  Five projects in New Mexico will see the expansion of access to clean drinking water, better land management, and ensuring two tribal communities have access to high-speed internet.”

The projects funded in New Mexico in this announcement include:

 

  • The city of Truth or Consequences, N.M. will receive a loan/grant financing package in the amount of $7,531,000 to finance phase two of the replacement of the existing water lines and install other needed equipment. When completed the upgraded water lines will solve the current water loss due to pipe breakage.

 

  • The Lower Rio Grande Public Water Works Authority will receive a loan/grant financing package in the amount of $836,600. This Rural Development investment will be used to upgrade and modernize the Berino, New Mexico water system by installing a new water well. The the updated water system will also address the arsenic concentrations in the groundwater and provide cleaner water to the residents of Berino.

 

  • Mescalero Apache Telecom Inc, (MATI) has been approved to receive a $ 9,020,000 telecommunications loan. The funds will be used to, upgrade and replace the remaining Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) electronics in the system with new Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) equipment, enhance the network with Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) equipment and new digital radios, new fiber On Line Service Provider (OSP) facilities, and provide a new pre-fab building.

 

  • Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, has  been approved to receive a $1,801,556 grant that will serve northwest New Mexico and northeast Arizona. Through this project both a fiber and a wireless network will be constructed to provide internet service to both businesses and homes throughout the area.

 

  • The Quivera Coalition based in Santa Fe is receiving a $37,500 Solid Waste Management Grant. The funding will provide; education, demonstration, and technical assistance and will be used to implement better land management practices develop composting programs with farmers and ranchers in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico.

 

Background

Vilsack highlighted 359 investments that USDA is making in seven programs designed to help people in rural areas access high-speed internet, clean water and dependable electric power. These programs include Community Connect Grants, Electric Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee Program, Telecommunications Infrastructure Loans and Loan Guarantees, Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program, Water and Waste Disposal Loan Guarantees, Water and Waste Disposal Technical Assistance and Training Grants and Water and Waste Disposal Predevelopment Planning Grants.

 

The investments announced today will support rural infrastructure projects in Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Nebraska, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Wyoming and Puerto Rico.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, Tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, promoting competition and fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.

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