WASHINGTON, Nov. 5, 2010 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced funding to create jobs, improve water quality and provide access to broadband services in part of rural Arkansas. The funding is provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
"These Recovery Act projects will provide safe drinking water to hundreds of people and also give over half a million rural residents and business owners access to the broadband and the tools they need to attract new businesses, jobs, health care and educational opportunities," said Vilsack. "Projects like these create jobs now and will support more job creation through rural economic development for years to come."
Today's announcement includes a $2.2 million loan and $744,000 grant to Utopian Wireless Corporation to bring WiMax infrastructure to rural communities in and around Searcy. This project will provide broadband access to 485,000 residents, more than 2,000 businesses and 11 anchor institutions. In addition to the 15 jobs initially created or retained, this network will provide a foundation for economic growth and job creation in the area.
In addition, the Washington County Rural Development Authority in Madison and Washington counties has been selected to receive a $1.25 million loan to provide approximately 300 rural customers with safe drinking water. Currently, the residents get water from individual wells that are contaminated. The project will create or save an estimated 120 jobs in the surrounding area. Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan, grant or loan/grant agreement.
With funding provided by the Recovery Act, USDA Rural Development has obligated $3.3 billion for 854 water and environmental projects and $3.5 billion for 297 broadband projects across the nation.
President Obama signed The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law on Feb. 17, 2009. It is designed to jumpstart the nation's economy, create or save millions of jobs, and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so our country can thrive in the 21st century. The Act includes measures to modernize our nation's infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care, provide tax relief, and protect those in greatest need.
More information about USDA's Recovery Act efforts is available at www.usda.gov/recovery. More information about the Federal government's efforts on the Recovery Act is available at www.recovery.gov.
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