Rep. Delgado Reintroduces Legislation to Rebuild Rural Communities
RHINEBECK, NY – Today, U.S. Representative Antonio Delgado (NY-19) along with Reps. Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Angie Craig (MN-02), and Abigail Spanberger (VA-07) reintroduced the Rebuild Rural America Act in the House. This legislation would deliver federal resources directly to rural communities as they respond to, and recover from, the economic crisis caused by COVID-19.
“As we recover from COVID-19, rural communities need direct and targeted resources to build back better,” said Rep. Delgado. “The Rebuild Rural America Act removes bureaucratic red tape disadvantaging rural populations and delivers the support necessary to rebuild upstate counties, villages, and towns. This new kind of federal partnership would provide rural areas with flexible five-year block grants, giving them the money, time, and capacity to carry out regional economic development goals. I thank my colleagues in the House for joining me to reintroduce this bill and Senator Gillibrand for her partnership in the Senate. I am proud to champion legislation to transform rural communities in upstate and across the United States.”
“Our rural communities face unique challenges when it comes to economic growth, and that’s why we need to prioritize continued investment to make sure they get the resources they need,” said Rep. Bustos. “The Rebuild Rural America Act would empower our rural communities to address the issues they face every day. I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this important bill and will continue to work to make our corner of Illinois a great place to live, work and raise a family.”
“Before the onset of COVID-19, so many of our rural towns and communities were already struggling. Over the past year the pandemic has presented even more challenges,” said Rep. Craig. “I’m proud to help reintroduce the Rebuild Rural America Act to provide flexible funds to help rural communities create and implement locally tailored revitalization plans. From fueling entrepreneurship and increasing access to public services to investing in high-quality child care, we must ensure that communities in Greater Minnesota have the support necessary to survive and thrive.”
“Central Virginia’s rural areas are home to successful businesses and great public schools, and these communities are always looking to attract new talent. But due to the smaller size of these areas, local leaders often have difficulty finding the resources to apply for grant funding that could support expanded high-speed internet access, revitalized main streets, or strengthened workforce training programs,” said Rep. Abigail Spanberger. “Especially as we work to safely reopen our economy, it is important that we provide all communities with the opportunities they need to thrive. Through the Rural Future Partnership Fund, this bill would give our rural areas additional support to make critical infrastructure investments and help recruit new workers and families to call their communities home. I’d like to thank Congressman Delgado for leading the introduction of this legislation—and I look forward to finding additional ways to spur economic growth in the Seventh District and across rural America.”
The Rebuild Rural America Act would establish a dedicated stream of federal funding for rural communities and provide guaranteed, multi-year, flexible block grants to support regional economic growth and recovery. Specifically, the Rebuild Rural America Act would do the following:
- Create a new $50 billion grant program, the Rural Future Partnership Fund, to provide non-competitive, five-year, renewable block grants to certified rural regions to implement locally-developed regional revitalization plans.
- Funding will be allocated proportionally based on the population of each region, with an increased allocation for regions that include areas that have a poverty rate greater than 20 percent.
- Eligible regions include those with a central community of 10,000 to 50,000 people, collections of rural census tracts or counties outside of regions with a central community of 10,000 to 50,000 people, and Indian reservations. States, in coordination with USDA, will certify the regions' participation in the program.
- Encourage rural regions to develop comprehensive, collaborative, and locally-driven community and economic development plans that revitalize infrastructure, provide support for public services and job training, and foster local entrepreneurship.
- Require interested rural regions to form a Regional Rural Partnership Council that brings together local leaders, elected officials, economic development organizations, cooperatives, higher education institutions, foundations, and other entities important to regional development.
- Empower rural community leaders by creating national capacity and training programs that will help connect the expertise and resources of the USDA and national and regional technical assistance providers with rural regions.
- Establish a State-by-State Rural Innovation and Partnership Administration to oversee this new program and offer hands-on help to local leaders.
- Launch a Rural Future Corps in coordination with AmeriCorps to assist rural communities with implementing Rural Partnership Plans and expanding critical services including childcare, health services, nutrition assistance, education, and job training.