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Release No. 0432.11
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Office of Communications (202) 720-4623

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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Funding to Create Jobs and Improve Rural Water Systems

WASHINGTON, Oct. 5, 2011—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced funding for rural water projects to create jobs and improve rural water and wastewater systems in 26 states. The announcement was made on Secretary Vilsack's behalf by Jonathan Adelstein, USDA Rural Development's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) Administrator. Adelstein made the announcement during remarks at the State and National Rural Water Association's H2O XPO in Louisville, Ky.

"Clean water is a basic necessity for the health and economic growth of our rural communities," Vilsack said. "Constructing and improving rural water systems benefit communities by providing reliable access to clean water and create jobs that strengthen economies."

For example, the Town of Marion, Miss., will receive $3.7 million to provide sewer treatment for residents of rural Lauderdale County. USDA funds will be used to install approximately 14 miles of sewer lines and three lift stations for sewer treatment at reasonable rates and terms. In addition to directly benefitting the thousands of residents in that county, this project is a catalyst necessary for economic development in that county.

In Texas, Skywater Water Supply Corporation in Castro County will receive $1 million to build a new water system. The existing system was shut down in 2009 when the wells failed, forcing residents to haul water over 10 miles. The funds will also be used to build storage facilities and four miles of new distribution line to benefit rural residents.

The $66.7 million in loans and $48.9 million in grants are provided by USDA to help rural communities build and upgrade rural water systems. RUS funding will provide thousands of new connections to water and wastewater facilities, improve water quality and increase the efficiency of water use, while reducing reduce . Funding for distribution cooperatives, which provide power to consumers, will benefit over 15,000 rural businesses and residents. For a complete list of projects funded, click here.

Today's announcement is part of a series of rural infrastructure investments expected by Secretary Vilsack during the next two weeks. This effort supports the goal of the American Jobs Act, which makes critical infrastructure improvements to put people back to work immediately.

On September 8, President Obama presented the American Jobs Act in an address to Congress. The purpose of the American Jobs Act is simple: put more people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans. The American Jobs Act is specific. It will put people back to work right now, and it will not add to the deficit. Through a combination of direct spending, such as infrastructure investments, and tax relief, such as an extension of the payroll tax cuts, it will lead to new American jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 21 direct or indirect jobs are created for each $1 million invested in infrastructure.

Since taking office, President Obama's Administration has taken significant steps to improve the lives of rural Americans and has provided broad support for rural communities. The Obama Administration has set goals of modernizing infrastructure by providing broadband access to 10 million Americans, expanding educational opportunities for students in rural areas, and providing affordable health care. In the long term, these unparalleled rural investments will help ensure that America's rural communities are repopulating, self-sustaining and thriving economically.

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. 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. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $155 billion in loans and loan guarantees. Visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/ for additional information about the agency's programs or to locate the USDA Rural Development office nearest you.

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