Rural infrastructure improvements get $773 million boost

February 23, 2024

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will invest $772.6 million on projects to provide high-speed internet, clean water, modern infrastructure and a range of support to rural communities, agricultural producers and small businesses.

The funds are part of the USDA’s Rural Development Initiative and will support 216 projects in 45 states, Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands.  

“The investments … will help us build our economy from the middle out and bottom up by bringing high-speed internet, clean water, modern infrastructure and good-paying jobs to communities in rural areas,” USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a press release.

The bulk of the funds – $644.2 million – will go to 158 rural utilities to provide clean drinking water and sanitary wastewater systems for almost 1 million people. The funds come from two USDA programs – the Solid Waste Management Grants Program and the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program.

The Solid Waste Management Grants Program helps organizations provide technical assistance and training for rural communities and utilities to improve solid waste facilities. Funds from the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program help state and local governments, private nonprofits and federally recognized Tribes build and improve rural wastewater systems.

Nearly $76.6 million will be allocated to 32 projects in Alaska, Georgia, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina, West Virginia and Wisconsin through the USDA’s Rural Partners Network Awards. The program, which is partially funded by the Inflation Reduction Act, provides funding to rural areas to expand access to jobs, business opportunities, quality health care, clean water and renewable energy.

For example, North Carolina’s Northampton County will use a $5 million grant to build a 15,000-square-foot addition to its courthouse. The new facility will house offices for the county manager, taxes, register of deeds, finance, human resources and information technology.

The USDA will invest $51.7 million to expand access to high-speed internet in rural areas through its ReConnect Program and the Broadband Technical Assistance Program.

Under the Broadband Technical Assistance Program, USDA will provide $9.7 million to help 24 organizations deliver or receive technical assistance to expand high-speed internet access for people in rural and Tribal communities across 17 states. This funding will also develop and expand broadband cooperatives in rural areas.

USDA’s ReConnect Program will provide $42 million in grants to service providers to bring high-speed internet to rural, remote and underserved communities in Florida.

The Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative Inc. will get $17.8 million to provide broadband internet access to 19,000 people, 480 businesses, 650 farms and 42 educational facilities in Columbia, Hamilton and Suwannee counties.

Florida’s IBT Group USA LLC will receive a $24.2 million grant to provide broadband service to 8,600 people, 230 businesses, 11 farms and 34 educational facilities in DeSoto County.

The USDA will begin accepting applications for the fifth round of funding through the ReConnect Program on March 22.

Strategic Partnerships, Inc. can provide information on contract opportunities, plus existing and future government funding. For more information, contact

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