February 04, 2005

Delegation Pushes Water Funding For Rupert

U.S. Department of Agricultureâ??s Rural Development awards $4 million in funding

Washington, DC â?? The water quality for residents of Rupert will be improved thanks to a push from members of Idahoâ??s Congressional Delegation. The Delegation is working with the U.S. Department of Agricultureâ??s Rural Development office to bring $4 million in improved water quality loans and grants to Rupert. The money, $3 million in loan guarantees plus a $1 million grant, will be used to upgrade the City of Rupertâ??s water and wastewater operations. Senator Mike Crapo, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committeeâ??s Subcommittee on Rural Development, made the phone call to USDA prior to todayâ??s announcement. â??Many of our nationâ??s water and wastewater systems are many decades old. Water quality improvements such as Rupertâ??s are critical not only to public health but to keep our rural infrastructure intact and our rural communities thriving economically,â?? he said. Senator Larry Craig, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said, â??This exemplifies the partnerships between local and federal governments we have seen throughout Idaho to improve infrastructure for rural residents. Because of the lower density of customers, Idahoâ??s rural municipal utilities often need assistance to comply with the federal mandates â?? the very assistance the Bush Administration is providing today.â?? "Federal regulations and aging infrastructure are putting a tremendous burden on rural communities like Rupert," said Congressman Mike Simpson, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. "This vital funding will help Rupert improve its water system and expand economic opportunities without putting an undue financial strain on its citizens." "The federal government has an obligation to help rural communities, with limited financial means, meet ever-increasing regulatory burdens. At the same time, improving the quality and reliability of municipal water systems is the kind of positive change that will help communities like Rupert compete more effectively for business and jobs. It's a sound investment, any way you look at it," said Congressman C.L. "Butch" Otter, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Materials. # # #