Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand stood with local leaders in the village of Lake Placid to announce her Rebuild Rural America Act, legislation that would invest $50 billion in rural economic development, infrastructure, schools, hospitals, and small businesses. The bill would address the challenges specific to rural America and make it easier for rural communities to access federal funding and other resources.
“New York’s rural communities face a variety of unique challenges, but too often, the federal government has failed to adequately support them,” said Senator Gillibrand. “My Rebuild Rural America Act will invest $50 billion into rural America to help communities build schools, expand child care access, catalyze private investment, train workers for in-demand jobs, and bolster critical infrastructure. I look forward to getting this legislation passed in the Farm Bill this year.”
“Those of us working directly with small businesses in rural North Country communities will be able to increase our impact with the funding and tools this legislation provides. We look forward to working with Senator Gillibrand and our partners to leverage this opportunity and help entrepreneurs build strength, resilience and long-term prosperity for their businesses, their local communities, and the broader regional economy,” said Elizabeth Cooper, Executive Director of the Adirondack North Country Association.
“We applaud the Senator on her Rebuild Rural America Act. This Act is in line with the North Country Regional Economic Development Council’s Strategic Plan and will greatly assist in our regional efforts,” said James McKenna, President and CEO, of the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism. “Providing multi-year funding, the Rebuild Rural America Act will allow for planning and implementation of economic development programs, downtown revitalization initiatives, public infrastructure projects thereby increasing the quality of life for our residents and the quality of place for our visitors. Thank you Senator.”
“Rural areas like the North Country are working diligently to revitalize their communities,” said Assemblyman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay Lake).“Senator Gillibrand’s Rebuild Rural America Act of 2023 will build upon New York State’s efforts to support rural communities by improving the quality of life for residents. This bill will also provide funding opportunities to support economic development and address issues such as childcare desserts, affordable housing shortages, failing infrastructure and broadband buildout. We all know that the North Country is a great place to live, and this bill will help our region continue to be a place where people want to raise their families, start their careers, and retire.”
Specifically, the Rebuild Rural America Act would:
- Establish a Rural Future Partnership Fund that would create a $50 billion block grant program for long-term rural economic development projects, including investments in child care centers, public schools, libraries, community centers, health care providers, workforce development programs, emergency preparedness programs, main street revitalization programs, and water and sewer facilities, among others. In contrast with existing funding opportunities, which often require arduous applications that recipients must reapply through each year, the fund would provide grantees with 5 years of guaranteed funding. This streamlined process would allow communities to make longer-term investments and would ease administrative burdens on local governments.
- Make it easier for rural communities to access federal funds and other resources by establishing a USDA Rural Innovation and Partnership Administration. This administration would work directly with local leaders to provide information on available federal resources, technical assistance, and cutting-edge data to help them craft and implement rural revitalization plans to make government helpful, not a hassle.
- Fight population loss from rural areas by launching the Rural Future Corps, a program that would place AmeriCorps Fellows in rural communities and help these communities expand critical services like child care, health, nutrition assistance, education, and job training. The program would also work to retain members in rural communities after their year of service.
- Empower local leaders, who know their communities best, to drive regional economic development through a new suite of national capacity and training programs to connect the expertise of national technical assistance providers with rural regions.