PRESS RELEASE: Congressman Vela Introduces Bill to Provide Water Infrastructure Funding to Underserved Communities


Date: Nov. 17, 2021
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Infrastructure

Congressman Filemon Vela introduced the Water Infrastructure for Rural and Impoverished Communities Act to give U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development greater flexibility to make loans and grants to communities with the greatest need for water and wastewater infrastructure.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to rural communities to finance critical water and wastewater infrastructure projects. Under current law, participation in the program is limited to rural cities with fewer than 10,000 residents. With this population limit in place, the Texas Rural Development office often send tens of millions of dollars in unspent funds back to the federal USDA office. This legislation will allow state Rural Development offices to provide water infrastructure loans and grants to Texas communities with 10,000 to 30,000 residents using remaining funds from the state's annual Rural Development allocation for water and wastewater projects.

"For years, I have heard from officials in the 34th district about the gap in federal water infrastructure financing for mid-sized rural communities," said Congressman Vela. "Texas is consistently sending unused money back to the national USDA office to be redistributed to other states when there are slightly larger communities here that would benefit from these funds. This bill would give Texas communities with up to 30,000 residents an opportunity to finance critical projects using remaining funds in the state's allocation."