• December 29, 2014

Fund for rural areas could aid Coryell County

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Posted: Friday, July 25, 2014 4:30 am

GATESVILLE — The creation of the new U.S. Rural Infrastructure Opportunity Fund, announced Thursday by the White House Rural Council, could figure into economic development plans in Coryell County.

Through the fund, private entities can invest in job-creating rural infrastructure projects across the country. An initial $10 billion was committed to the fund with greater investment expected to follow, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Target investments for the fund will include hospitals, educational facilities, rural water and wastewater systems, energy projects, broadband expansion, local and regional food systems and other rural infrastructure, according to the release.

Coryell County is working with Connected Texas, a nonprofit organization that partnered with the Texas Agriculture Department to improve Internet connectivity in rural Texas. County Judge John Firth said the new USDA fund could factor into a public-private partnership for the broadband expansion.

Connected Coryell County “is being worked through several channels,” Firth said.

CoBank, a national cooperative bank serving rural America and a member of the Farm Credit System, is the fund’s anchor investor, committing $10 billion to get the fund off the ground, according to the release.

Capitol Peak Asset Management will manage the fund and work to recruit more investors. The USDA and other federal agencies will help identify rural projects that could be beneficiaries of financing through the fund and other private sources.

The fund was announced at the White House Rural Opportunity Investment Conference, which brought together business and financial community leaders, government officials, rural development experts and others to promote investment in America’s rural communities.

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