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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces $4 Million In Economic Development Funding For Native American Communities, Rural Transportation Improvements


Location: Washington, DC

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA has selected 23 recipients to receive more than $4 million in grants to spur economic development in Native American communities. As part of this announcement, the Community Transportation Association of America has also been selected to receive $750,000 in grants to help organizations in four states and the U.S. Virgin Islands that are working to improve local passenger transportation systems in rural and Native American communities. Altogether, projects will be funded in16 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"The Obama Administration is committed to strengthening rural communities and this funding will expand economic opportunities and improve rural transportation," Vilsack said. "These Native American communities will receive funding for business and job creation and to repair, improve, or build passenger transit systems."

For example, in Tuba City, Ariz., Moenkopi Developers Corporation, Inc. (MDC) has been selected to receive a $199,125 Rural Business Enterprise Grant to fund a portion of the construction and infrastructure costs associated with building a restaurant adjacent to a tribally-owned inn on the Hopi Reservation. MDC is a non-profit, serving the village's residents. When completed, the new restaurant will operate under a national name brand and create at least 65 jobs. Moenkopi, one of 12 villages that comprise the Hopi Tribe in Arizona, has a 29.9 percent unemployment rate.

The Native American funding, provided through USDA Rural Development's Rural Business Enterprise Grant program (RBEG), will be provided for projects where at least three-quarters of the benefits will be received by members of a Federally Recognized Tribe. The beneficiary of the project may also be a tribally-owned business venture.

The Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) was selected to receive $750,000 in grants to provide technical assistance to organizations in their efforts to enhance passenger transportation service in rural areas and Native American communities. The funding will be used to provide technical assistance to improve modes of transportation in rural areas.

Of the $750,000, $500,000 will be used to assist the following organizations: United Way of Delaware and Otsego (New York); Centralin Foundation (North Carolina); Enid/Garfield County Development Alliance (Oklahoma); and the Virgin Island Advocacy (U.S. Virgin Islands). The remaining $250,000 will be used to assist several Native American communities and tribal organizations with transportation improvements and planning. They include the Eastern Band of Cherokee Nation (North Carolina); Grand Gateway Economic Development Administration (Oklahoma); and the Kalispel Tribe of Indians (Washington). CTAA grant funds may also be used to fund transportation improvement projects in other states and territories.

Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant agreement. The following is a list of applicants that were selected to receive Rural Business Enterprise Grants. These funds are not from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.


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