JOHANNS ANNOUNCES OVER $52 MILLION IN FUNDING TO CONSTRUCT NEW HOSPITAL, OTHER FACILITIES, AND PROVIDE HOMEBUYER EDUCATION
LOUISVILLE, Ky., Aug. 31, 2005- Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today announced more than $52 million in grant and loan funds to finance the construction of a new hospital, construction of electrical distribution lines, provide water service, and offer technical funding to develop a homebuyer assistance program for residents of rural Kentucky.
"These funds will enable the construction of a state of the art hospital facilitiy, provide homeownership opportunities and improve electrical and water service for thousands of Kentucky residents," said Johanns. "This is a prime example of the Bush Administration's long term investment in rural communities that will pay many dividends to the people of Kentucky for generations to come."
Johanns made the announcement prior to a Farm Bill Forum in Louisville today that is part of the nationwide listening tour to gather input from the public on farm policy.
Included in the projects is an $11 million direct loan to construct a new hospital next to an antiquated hospital building in Flemingsburg, Ky. Once the new facility is completed, the existing patient wing will be torn down, without disrupting service to patients. The hospital will serve about 41,000 area residents.
Over $39 million in electrical loans was provided to two energy cooperatives. Shelby Energy Cooperative in Shelbyville, Kentucky will receive $16.8 million to build 170 miles of new distribution line, providing service to 2,000 new consumers. Jackson Energy Cooperative of McKee, Kentucky will receive a $22.3 million loan to construct 119 miles of new distribution lines and provide service to over 2,300 new customers.
The Letcher County Water and Sewer District will receive a $1 million loan and an $800,000 grant to build water lines, a storage tank and a pump station to serve 665 new customers in rural Letcher County. USDA Rural Development has invested more than $270 million in electrical infrastructure, and over $37 million in Kentucky water and environmental programs in 2005.
Johanns also announced a grant of $100,000 to Frontier Housing Services in Morehead, Kentucky to provide technical assistance in developing a comprehensive homebuyer education and counseling program in nine counties. The funds will assist over 200 income-eligible borrowers.
USDA Rural Development has invested more than $54 billion since the beginning of the Bush Administration to provide equity and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technology infrastructure. Over 1 million jobs have been created or saved through these investments. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA's web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov.