RCAP receives $5 million in stimulus funds from USDA

March 9, 2010 | General RCAP News


WASHINGTON, March 9, 2010—Rural Community Assistance Partnership, Inc. (RCAP) has been awarded a $5 million grant of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds through U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development. RCAP will use the economic stimulus funds to provide help to water and wastewater systems in rural communities in addition to its regular programs through on-site technical assistance and training and publications.   “We are excited to be given the opportunity to assist more communities with ARRA funds,” said Robert Stewart, RCAP Executive Director. “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.”   USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack made the announcement that RCAP was the sole recipient of the funds on March 8. The funds are being provided through the Technical Assistance and Training Grant (TAT) program administered by USDA Rural Development. RCAP applied for the funds in January.   “The Obama Administration supports the construction of new sanitation infrastructure that safeguards the health of rural residents,” said Vilsack. “These funds will help ensure that operators of rural utility systems receive the training needed to plan new, safe reliable water systems.”   RCAP plans to begin the year-long Technitrain ARRA program on May 1 using the grant’s funds. The majority of the funds will be disbursed through RCAP’s six regional partners to carry out technical assistance and training to 420 water and wastewater systems across the U.S. The regional partners expect to hire additional staff to implement the program in communities.   RCAP will coordinate with state and area Rural Development offices to select water and wastewater systems to receive assistance from RCAP’s Technitrain ARRA program. All of the chosen systems will be applicants or recipients of ARRA funding through USDA Rural Utilities Service (RUS). RCAP will focus on assisting RUS borrowers to comply with ARRA provisions. Approximately 25 percent of the communities receiving assistance will be in persistent poverty counties.   Part of the grant will be used to produce several publications for RUS borrowers and on effective management, operations and maintenance of small, rural water and wastewater systems. RCAP hopes to distribute these publications in print and on the Web.   “The assistance RCAP will provide to communities will secure the investments that were made through the ARRA funds,” said Stewart. He explained that RCAP’s approach is to improve the capacity of small communities to build, operate and manage crucial water and wastewater services for their customers.    “RCAP is eager to tackle this new opportunity that will assist rural areas as they work toward improving public health and promoting economic growth and job creation,” added Stewart.   The Technitrain ARRA program is an extension of RCAP’s regular programs. RCAP’s ongoing Technitrain program has been funded by USDA since 1988.   President Obama signed The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law on Feb. 17, 2009. It was designed to jumpstart the nation’s economy, create or save millions of jobs, and address many infrastructure needs in urban and rural areas.