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  • Ren Gudino

An Infrastructure Bill Update for Earth Day

Last year we did a few posts about the Infrastructure Bill, Biden’s $1 trillion dollar project intended to boost commerce and small business by focusing on energy efficiency, repairing our nation’s roads and ports, and investing in rural areas to aid growing communities. For last year’s most recent update, you can click here. If you’re wondering about how things are going in 2024, here’s a quick overview along with some resources so you can deep-dive.

Roads and Bridges

In October of 2023, $61 billion was allocated to 12 programs focused on improving roads, bridges, and highways. These funds were to be given directly to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. This gives individual states the power to determine where the money should best be spent, to improve transportation for not only commerce, but also people needing better access to get to work and school in rural areas. The idea is to "modernize roads and bridges across America," according to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, to boost their local economy and increase development.

Rural Infrastructure Projects

In February of this year, Rural Partners Network community and the USDA got together to announce 216 projects in 45 states, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands to bring high-speed internet, clean water, state-of-the-art infrastructure and economic growth to rural communities. Two of the projects will benefit over a million people directly by providing high-speed internet and clean safe water, as well as additional support for agricultural producers and small business. For more information on how access to high speed internet is changing developing rural areas, see here.

The USDA also awarded $644.2 million to help 158 rural utilities provide clean drinking water and sanitary wastewater systems for 913,000 people in rural areas. Some of these rural areas include federally recognized Tribes and ensuring they receive funding to either build or improve upon current waste water systems.

Clean Energy Projects

Yesterday was Earth Day, which meant it was the perfect time for the USDA to announce funding for over 700 clean energy projects, via the Inflation Reduction Act—the nation’s largest funded effort put toward climate change. Over 194 million in loans and grants through REAP will support agricultural producers and rural small business owners make energy efficient changes. These awards are the nation’s investments in disadvantaged communities that have previously been underfunded and are struggling from pollution. This is a part of Biden’s Justice40 Initiative that is working toward ensuring 40% of certain funds go directly to these areas. These projects vary from grants given to improve energy efficiency to small businesses to loans for businesses to move into more efficient locations. For more information, see here.

Today, the USDA awarded 5.2 million to 11 states to support high-speed internet deployment. As Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small said, “Through President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, USDA is partnering with small towns, cooperatives, local utilities and private companies working to ensure that people, no matter where they live, have access to high-speed internet. That’s how you grow the economy – not just in rural communities, but across the nation.”


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