USDA Invests $633 Million in Climate-Smart Infrastructure in Rural Communities

The USDA recently announced the agency is investing $633 million to reduce the impacts of climate change on rural communities, including more than $1 million for 22 projects across Pennsylvania.

Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the funding package from Saubel’s Markets in Shrewsbury, which will receive $103,413 from a USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant. Saubel’s will install solar panels on the roof of the family-owned grocery store that has been in business since the 1960s. The solar panel project is expected to save $30,852 per year and replace 395,539 kilowatt hours per year, enough energy to power 36 homes annually.

President Joe Biden recently signed into law the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which touts $500 billion in new spending over the next five years. Pennsylvania is expected to receive $11.3 billion for federal-aid highway apportioned programs and $1.6 billion for bridge replacement and repairs over five years. Pennsylvania will also receive a minimum allocation of $100 million to help provide broadband coverage across the state.

“Rural America is on the front lines of climate change, and our communities deserve investments that will strengthen all of our resilience,” Vilsack said. “President Biden has created a roadmap for how we can tackle the climate crisis and expand access to renewable energy infrastructure, all while creating good-paying jobs and saving people money on their energy costs. With the Build Back Better agenda, USDA will be able to fund more and more critical projects like those announced … in the coming months and years.”

The recently announced USDA funding will help rural residents, business and communities address economic development, infrastructure and social service needs through five programs: Community Facilities Disaster Grants, Electric Loan Program, Rural Energy for America Program, Rural Energy Savings Program, and the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program.

More information is available at the UDSA website.

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