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Udall, Bennet Applaud USFS Rural Schools Funding

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Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet today applauded the U.S. Forest Service's announcement that Colorado will receive $13,053,100 through the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program. The resources will be used to support local schools and roads as part of the reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act.

"It is welcome news that the great state of Colorado will receive $13,053,100 in funding from the U.S. Forest Service in order to develop and maintain rural schools and roads. These funds will create good-paying jobs and bring much-needed repairs to schools in Colorado's rural communities," Udall said. "I am glad that through the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act, Congress continues to maintain its contract with rural America by providing them the resources they need to help maintain their livelihood."

"This is welcome news for many of Colorado's rural communities that continue to face tightening budgets and potentially drastic cuts," Bennet said. "The SRS program has been a lifeline for financially strapped rural counties and allows them to make necessary investments in their schools and roads."

The SRS program was reauthorized for one year, along with Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program as part of last year's reauthorization of the nation's transportation bill. The program provides resources for public schools, road improvement and maintenance projects, and forest restoration and improvement projects in and around national forests. The reauthorization clarifies that funds for eligible Title III projects under the program must be obligated by the end of the following fiscal year but not necessarily initiated.

Udall and Bennet have led the fight in support of PILT and SRS. In May, the senators sent a letter to the conference committee urging its members to include full funding for the programs in the final transportation bill.

In 2011, Udall and Bennet sponsored a bipartisan bill to fully fund PILT and extend SRS funding for an additional 5 years.

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