Last week, Rep. Steve Southerland II (R-Fla.) introduced HR 1632: The Building Rural Communities Act (BRCA). The bill is cosponsored by Reps. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), William Enyart (D-Ill.), Don Young (R-Alaska), Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), Steve Stockman (R-Texas), Reid Ribble (R-Wisc.), and Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.).
On April 8, Southerland used an RCAP community in Florida as the setting to announce his intentions to introduce the bill.
If enacted, the bill would establish a technical assistance (TA) set-aside for the Essential Community Facilities program at USDA Rural Development. This new TA program is modeled after the water and wastewater TA programs that have worked well for decades, helping rural communities with planning, construction, financing, maintenance and operation of water and wastewater infrastructure. The BRCA will help TA providers like RCAP to assist rural communities with planning, construction, financing, maintenance and operation of essential community facilities: fire stations, police stations, courthouses, airport hangars, senior centers, libraries, jails, and more. The funds come out of an existing appropriation, so this provision will not cost the federal government any money.
Please take a few minutes to call or e-mail your representative and ask him or her to cosponsor this important piece of legislation. Let's make sure that Congress hears the voices of its rural constituents, and let's build support for this common-sense, no cost change that will improve the lives of rural residents in hundreds, if not thousands, of communities nationwide.
If you have any questions, comments, or technical difficulties, please contact RCAP's Policy Director, Ari Neumann, at email@example.com or 202-408-1273.