USDA announces $117 million to support rural Arizona communities
TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - The USDA Rural Development Arizona State Director Charlene Fernandez today announced $117.5 million in investments across rural Arizona and throughout Rural Partners Network Communities to bring job growth, advance clean energy, bring high-speed internet to rural areas, and drive economic change in historically underserved areas.
“Today, we’re announcing a significant investment in the future of rural Arizona. $30 million toward high-speed internet will offer new opportunities for many rural residents who have been waiting for quality, affordable broadband, and it will level the playing field for businesses, schools, farmers, and more to thrive,” Fernandez said. “Community leaders throughout the state have worked with USDA to ensure their communities are prepared for growth. $19 million will help two of these communities to address their infrastructure needs related to that growth. In addition, $59 million in electric infrastructure will connect thousands of people to this essential utility and incorporate smart grid technologies to advance President Biden’s plan to ensure every rural American can access what they need to succeed.”
The $117.5 million in loan, grant, and loan guarantees offered to agricultural producers, rural small business owners, communities, and utility providers is part of a recent announcement by President Biden leading his Administration’s Investing in Rural America Event Series.
Funded projects announced today include:
- Through USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), $4 million in grant will go to supporting 16 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects throughout Arizona.
- San Carlos Apache Telecommunications Utility Inc. will use a $16.9 million ReConnect Program loan to provide high-speed internet serving San Carlos Land Area Representation and socially vulnerable communities in Gila, Graham, and Pinal counties. This network will benefit 4,126 people, 58 businesses, two farms and 14 educational facilities in Gila, Graham, and Pinal counties in Arizona. This investment is located in a community participating in the Rural Partners Network.
- Oak Creek Water Co. No. 1 will use $8 million in loans and grants to upgrade its aging water infrastructure with improved service lines, storage tanks and an arsenic treatment system that will ensure clean water for people in western Sedona.
- Trico Electric Coop headquartered in Marana, Arizona, will use a $59 million loan to connect 4,201 consumers, and build and improve 426 miles of line. This loan includes $1,783,925 in smart grid technologies, including two miles of fiber installation.
A full listing of these awards and others is available to view online.
President Biden announced over $5 billion in new investments from his Investing in America agenda – including the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act – to advance rural prosperity, economic development, competition, and sustainability. President Biden also discussed how Bidenomics and his Investing in America agenda are ensuring rural Americans do not have to leave their hometowns to find opportunity.
USDA 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/az.
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