Merrigan Visits Virginia to Announce Local Recovery Act Investment

USDA Press Release No. 0395.10 Contact: Dane Henshall (202) 260-0996

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan Visits Virginia to Announce Recovery Act Investment to Assist Local Community

New Water and Environmental Program Project to Spur Job Creation in Rural Areas

HALIFAX, Va., Aug. 5, 2010 – Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today visited Virginia to announce funding for a local project to protect public health and the environment by improving water quality and public sanitation services. Merrigan made the announcement this morning at the Halifax County Courthouse where she highlighted the environmental, health and economic benefits the Recovery Act funding will provide to the Maple Avenue Wastewater Treatment Plan and the local community. "The Obama Administration is committed to investing in infrastructure to improve the efficiency and availability of water in rural America," said Merrigan. "Economic assistance to rural communities for investments in water availability is especially valuable, given the borrowing constraints that many communities may face. These Recovery Act investments in water and wastewater infrastructure will create construction jobs, help deliver safe drinking water and protect the environment throughout rural America."

The Halifax County Service Authority in Halifax County, Va., has been selected to receive a $5 million Recovery Act loan and a $10.4 million grant utilizing water and environmental program funding. The funding will be used to expand the capacity of the wastewater treatment plant to meet the regionalization effort being undertaken by the Authority. In addition, the project will correct inadequacies and health hazards to meet standards of the Department of Environmental Quality and increase treatment capacity. The sewer system serves 3,000 residential homes and 664 businesses. USDA Rural Development today is announcing $157.3 million for 34 water and wastewater infrastructure projects in local communities through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and $45.6 million through other USDA Rural Development Water and Environmental Program funding. To date, USDA has announced $2.9 billion in Recovery Act funds for 788 water and environmental projects. The Recovery Act was signed into law by President Obama one year ago. The Water and Environmental Program provides loans and grants to ensure that the necessary investments are made in water and wastewater infrastructure to deliver safe drinking water and protect the environment in rural areas. 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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