White House sets USD 10 bn fund for rural infrastructure
Posted on Jul 25 2014 | IANS
Washington, July 25 : The White House Rural Council Thursday announced a fund of USD 10 billion to support rural infrastructure projects across the country.
"This fund represents a new approach to our support for job-creating projects across the country," Xinhua quoted Tom Vilsack, US Department of Agriculture (USDA) secretary and chair of the White House Rural Council, as saying.
Washington wanted this fund to help promote rural projects among private investors, as the initiatives from the US government alone are not enough to fulfill all the investment demands from rural areas.
"With new efforts like this we can move beyond existing programmes and help encourage substantial private investment in projects that grow the economy and improve quality of life for millions of Americans," said Vilsack.
The initial USD 10 billion was provided by CoBank, a national cooperative bank serving rural America and a member of the Farm Credit System. Later the fund will recruit a wide variety of new investors, including pension funds, endowments foundations and other institutional investors.
The USDA and other federal agencies will help to identify suitable rural projects, including hospitals, schools and other educational facilities, rural water and wastewater systems, energy projects, broadband expansion, local and regional food systems, and other rural infrastructure.
In some cases, projects may be funded entirely through private sectors dollars. In others, private dollars may be leveraged with government loan and grant programmes, said the USDA.