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Tyler County Booster - Local News
Stories Added - September 2009
Copyright 2008 - Polk Count
y Publishing Company

Stimulus Awards to Bring Jobs, Water, Roads to Rural Texas
Tyler County Booster - September 2009

AUSTIN—Federal stimulus funds are expected to create about 400 new jobs in rural Texas as 75 local governments unroll a slew of public works projects to be completed over the next two years. Grants totaling more than $20 million will help rural cities and counties tackle road and drainage projects, upgrade water facilities and improve wastewater services, courtesy of the Texas Department of Rural Affairs (TDRA), the state agency distributing the portion of stimulus allocation aimed at rural community development. “These projects will significantly improve local infrastructure, boosting both short and long term job creation,” said Charles S. (Charlie) Stone, TDRA executive director. “The grants will have a truly lasting impact on rural Texas.” In May, U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allocated $19.47 million to stimulate job growth in rural communities through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). TDRA added $2.1 million to fully fund as many stimulus projects as possible, totaling more than $20 million in grants. The additional money came from the agency’s Texas Community Development Block Grant program, also funded by HUD. The agency awarded stimulus funds to communities that applied for the 2009-10 Community Development program, but did not receive grants due to a federal shortfall in funds. The awards list, project descriptions and job estimates are posted online at www.tdra.state.tx.us/pdfs/cdbg_rAwards. pdf. “These are worthy projects, and TDRA is dedicated to bringing as much community and economic development support to rural Texas as possible, despite a very demanding federal timeline,” said Mark Wyatt, director of TDRA’s community development division. The stimulus grants will be among the first projects funded under the agency’s new name. “We used to be the Office of Rural Community Affairs, but the 81st Legislature changed our name to recognize our role as an official state agency dedicated to rural Texas,” said Stone. Rural cities with populations less than 50,000 and counties that have a non-metropolitan population under 200,000 are eligible for ORCA’s Texas CDBG program. This program serves approximately 1,017 rural communities, 245 rural counties, and provides services to over 375,000 low- to moderate-income beneficiaries each year. TDRA makes the broad resources of state government more accessible to rural communities. The agency ensures a continuing focus on rural issues, monitors governmental actions, recommends solutions to problems affecting rural Texas, and is a provider of rural-focused state and federal resources for community development, economic development, housing and rural health. TDRA is the federally designated State Office of Rural Health. For more information, visit TDRA online at www.TDRA.state.tx.us

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