WASHINGTON, DC — A bill introduced by Rep. Antonio Delgado on October 24 would provide $50 billion dollars in block grants targeted at rural communities that sometimes have trouble negotiating …
WASHINGTON, DC — A bill introduced by Rep. Antonio Delgado on October 24 would provide $50 billion dollars in block grants targeted at rural communities that sometimes have trouble negotiating the complex federal grant process.
“During the last in-district work period, I focused on rural infrastructure and broadband needs in NY-19, and heard from community leaders across the district about the challenges they face when seeking federal grant funding. From Hobart to Hunter and all across the district, our communities have significant rural infrastructure needs to compete in the modern economy,” Delgado said.
“I introduced the Rebuild Rural America Act (RRAA) in the House because our rural communities shouldn’t be held back by federal bureaucracy, but instead have the opportunity and resources to access federal dollars and rebuild aging infrastructure. My bill would create a Rural Future Partnership Fund, a new kind of federal partnership that would provide rural areas with flexible block grants for five years, giving them the money, time, and ability to carry out regional economic development goals.”
The funds could be used for various projects, including repairing aging firehouses, repaving sidewalks, replacing old and failing water systems and promoting economic opportunity.
Reps. Cheri Bustos, Angie Craig, and Abigail Spanberger joined Delgado in introducing the bill in the House.
“The Rebuild Rural America Act provides flexible funding for rural areas to create and implement revitalization plans tailored to their priorities, whether that’s fueling entrepreneurship, increasing access to public services, or investing in high-quality child care,” said Rep. Craig.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand introduced the legislation in the Senate. “Rural communities are at the very heart of New York, and their development is key to helping our state and our nation succeed,” said Gillibrand. “These communities face complex challenges that demand comprehensive solutions and long-term planning, but the current federal grant system is too narrow and inflexible to truly address their specific needs.
“We have to reimagine how the federal government partners with and invests in rural communities, which is why I am proud to unveil the RRAA. My bill would encourage rural communities to come together as a region and rebuild their economies with the support and flexibility of a consistent federal funding source.”
The push for more funding for rural communities comes a week after Delgado joined 46 of his House colleagues in sending a letter to Senate and House leaders to call for more funding for rural broadband. The letter reads, in part, “We believe that support for programs such as ReConnect and the 2018 Farm Bill broadband loan and grant program is critical to address the ‘digital divide’ and ensure that our rural communities have equal access to opportunity.”