Over $770 million allocated for rural infrastructure projects, including water and internet upgrades

(UI) — The Biden-Harris Administration, through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), unveiled a significant investment of $772.6 million across 216 projects in 45 states, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

This funding initiative aims to modernize rural communities by prioritizing essential upgrades to water and wastewater systems, alongside improvements in high-speed internet access and vital services.

During a Rural Prosperity town hall at Edgecombe Community College, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and White House Domestic Policy Advisor Neera Tanden detailed this comprehensive plan, marking the fourth leg of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America tour. These projects, powered by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, represent a concerted effort to revitalize underserved regions.

Improving Water and Wastewater Infrastructure A significant portion of the funding, $644.2 million, is dedicated to bolstering rural utilities, enabling 158 projects to provide clean drinking water and wastewater systems for over 900,000 individuals. Projects span across numerous states, safeguarding public health and environmental sustainability.

This funding builds on the $5.8 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for clean water from the Environmental Protection Agency that Vice President Harris announced yesterday in Pittsburgh.

Expanding High-Speed Internet Access A substantial allocation of $51.7 million is designated to expand high-speed internet access through programs such as the Reconnect Program and the Broadband Technical Assistance Program. These investments will bolster connectivity in rural and Tribal communities across 17 states, enhancing opportunities for education, commerce, and healthcare.

Future Connectivity: ReConnect Program Round 5 Secretary Vilsack also announced the commencement of applications for Round 5 of the ReConnect Program, starting March 22, 2024. This initiative seeks to further expand access to affordable high-speed internet in rural America, fostering economic growth and connectivity.

Rural Partners Network Support Moreover, USDA is funneling $76.6 million into underserved communities through the Rural Partners Network (RPN), supporting job creation, healthcare access, and energy sustainability across 10 states and Puerto Rico.

This transformative investment underscores the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to equitable development, economic prosperity, and enhanced quality of life in rural America.

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