Image via Facebook Rep. Antonio Delgado
Image via Facebook

Rep. Antonio Delgado’s (D-NY) plan to rebuild rural America was recently included in a plan to fight climate change and promote clean energy jobs from House Democrats. The “Rebuild Rural America Act” would improve the way that the federal government aids rural communities and small towns in order to fit their specific needs. 

The act would create a future partnership fund with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which would set up $50 billion, multi-year, flexible block grants to rural areas that might have trouble navigating the complex federal grant process. 

Eligible communities will get an automatic commitment to five-year, renewable funding that will help support progress on the regions’ locally developed goals and objectives. The goal under this plan is to make sure federal government funding matches what local communities are working on. 

“This will ensure that the federal government complements local economic development efforts to help make local economies more resilient, ensuring our rural communities are places in which anyone can live, work, raise a family and retire,” Delgado said in a release. 

Delgado has been pushing for more support for rural communities in terms of coronavirus relief for months. In April, the New York representative called out the federal government for not including his state’s rural communities in the CARES Act relief package.

“It is incredibly unfair that local governments serving populations under 500,000 or less were not given direct access to funding in the CARES Act,” Delgado told WSKG. “And it would be a further injustice to force them to compete for dollars allocated through the state in the next relief package.”

Rep. Delgado said in his release that he will continue to champion these provisions for rural communities, which he states are “crucial to the economic, long-term well being of upstate New York.” 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misidentified the broader legislative package these measures were included in. The legislation was added to the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis’ climate action framework.