WASHINGTON, April 6, 2010–The Rural Community Assistance Partnership has helped small, rural communities across the United States secure $575.2 million in economic stimulus funds to support their water and wastewater infrastructure projects. Through RCAP’s national programs, RCAP’s six regional partners work with water and wastewater systems to help them obtain funds to finance infrastructure projects. This figure is the amount of funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) that RCAP’s regional partners have helped 388 systems in 38 states access for their projects. “We are pleased that we have been able to play a supportive role in the communities that are receiving ARRA funds,” said Robert Stewart, RCAP Executive Director. The funds that RCAP has helped communities access are a result of the variety of services RCAP has provided in the application processes for funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Utilities Service and State Revolving Funds. RCAP’s work in communities is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Department of Health and Human Services. RCAP’s services in its national programs are provided free of charge to communities. “These millions of dollars in Recovery Act funds that are making their way to communities show that the federal government’s investment in RCAP to enable it to provide services reaps dividends,” Stewart explained. “RCAP is able to leverage what it receives and helps communities access many times more funds that will directly benefit their residents and economies.” ARRA funds not only pay for new treatment facilities or new pipes that will go in the ground in many communities, but will employ construction workers who are needed to dig the trenches and lay those pipes. “RCAP is one link in the chain that is helping to create and fund badly needed jobs in rural communities that have felt the effects of the economic downturn,” said Stewart. The EPA estimates that small drinking water and wastewater systems and rural areas will have $103 billion in infrastructure needs over the next 20 years. “USDA’s ARRA funding has provided a vital boost to rural America to meet infrastructure needs,” RCAP’s Chris Fierros said in March 23 testimony to the House Subcommittee on Rural Development, Biotechnology, Specialty Crops, and Foreign Agriculture. “…and as we enter the 2010 construction year, many rural communities will see the positive impact of that investment.” Fierros, Chief Operating Officer of Midwest Assistance Program, the Midwest RCAP, represented the national RCAP network when she spoke about how the USDA Rural Development program has improved rural water infrastructure. In March, RCAP was awarded a special grant of $5 million in ARRA funds from USDA. It will use the grant to provide assistance to recipients and potential recipients of USDA ARRA funds through on-site technical assistance and training and publications. “This grant to RCAP will complement and support our efforts to ensure that small communities receive the technical support they need to not only complete their infrastructure projects but also to ensure that their systems are properly managed to provide for long-term sustainability,” said Stewart. In addition to the $575.2 million figure, RCAP regional partners have also helped communities access at least $13.4 million in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) originating from ARRA funds. However, the figure for CDBG funds is incomplete as not all states reported.
|American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Awards as a Result of RCAP Assistance|
|USDA Rural Utilities Service||State Revolving Funds|
|State||Systems||Applications||Awards||$ Awarded||Systems||Applicationss||Awards||$ Awarded|
Data as of April 2010