BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Federal money is available to help rural communities in Louisiana. The funds are part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill.
“I thought it was heaven sent,” stated Capital Region Planning Commission Regional Director, Major Coleman.
Money is on its way to the state to help our farming regions to develop and advance.
“I thought it was a great thing that the federal government is now addressing the issues and plight that’s in rural America,” Coleman said.
Office of Rural Development Executive Director Noble Ellington says the multi-billion dollar bill has a special section dedicated to rural communities. It’s called Justice40.
“It’s saying that 40% of the funds should be used in rural and disadvantaged areas, so it’s taking care of the rural areas to be sure that we get our share,” Ellington explained.
He called it a total revitalization of rural life.
“Things like health care, education, and broadband,” he said.
“Clean water, economic development, and workforce development,” added Coleman.
It’s also to bring people back to those communities.
“They have declined primarily with people leaving and coming to the metropolitan areas because of the things they can get there that they were not able to get in the rural areas,” said Ellington.
Coleman said he would act as a middleman between the state and capital area rural parishes.
“My first step would be to foster a relationship with those small municipalities and our towns and villages, attend their council meetings,” he said.
He said he wants to understand and meet their most pressing needs.
“I would hope to come out of this whole initiative is that the rural communities would know and learn where to go find assistance and where to find help,” he said.
“16% of our people in the state live in rural areas, so we need to do what we can to try to revitalize those,” added Ellington.
To learn more about this initiative, click here.