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USDA opens grants cycle to fund rural transportation system upgrades

The US Department of Agriculture announced the availability of grants to improve rural transportation systems under the Rural Business Development Grant program.

Eligible applicants are organizations seeking to provide rural communities with training and technical assistance to improve transportation services and facilities. USDA does not provide funding directly to individuals under this program.

News is my Business learned that the agency has never received local applications, where the funding could potentially be used to improve transportation between Puerto Rico, Vieques and Culebra. The money could be used to address the beleaguered ferry system or draft a “serious plan to build a bridge connecting the islands,” a source told this media outlet.

Another potential candidate for this funding is the town of Loíza, which could build roads in non-floodable areas or develop breakwaters through Piñones so when the tide rises, the area is not isolated. Remote towns like Maricao and Las Marías could expand their roads so when a strong wind comes, downed trees do not block them, the source explained.

Luis R. García, acting state director for Puerto Rico said applicants are encouraged to consider projects that will promote equity and economic opportunity in rural areas, specifically those that advance key priorities: Containing the COVID-19 pandemic; ensuring racial equity; rebuilding the rural economy; and addressing the climate crisis.

Applications will be scored, reviewed, and selected on a competitive basis. Applications must be submitted to the applicant’s nearest USDA office by June 30, 2021 at 4:30 p.m.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 29 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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