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USDA Proposing Changes That Could Help Rural Areas Get Infrastructure Loans

From Radio Iowa- The U-S-D-A is seeking public comment on changes it claims will make it easier for rural communities to get loans for major projects. Four loan guarantee programs reassure banks they’ll be repaid when towns borrow for infrastructure. Johnathan Hladik  at the Center for Rural Affairs, says more banks might be willing to work with rural communities under the plan, but he says rural leaders should review it with a skeptical eye.

The proposal would streamline the process and is intended to reduce red-tape, according to a U-S-D-A statement. That could entice more banks to participate. Hladik says the change might make things easier for towns, or it might make more money for large banks. He has a recommendation for community leaders considering the loan guarantee programs.

Hladik says. Done right, he says, it could achieve the USDA’s stated goal of encouraging private investment in rural communities for efforts like rural water, waste water, energy and community-building projects. The public comment period goes through mid-September and the rule is slated to take effect October 1st.

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