The state’s first round of funding for rural development came in January, but it was a little less than the amount the Department of Water Resources would normally offer, so many rural developers still need help.
The funding was aimed at helping developers meet certain development goals, like meeting the water quality standards set by the National Association of Realtors and the American Farm Bureau Federation.
But the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation is still considering another round of incentives that could lead to a more substantial increase in funding for the industry.
The state is also seeking a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that would provide more money for rural water utilities to build infrastructure.
The $9.5 million in state funding is a part of the $20 million federal grant that has been in the works for the past few years.
But in addition to that, the state is seeking a small amount of additional money from the federal government to help the companies that would build the infrastructure, said state Secretary of Commerce David Johnson.
So far, the only companies that have received federal funding to build or expand infrastructure in rural America have been the ones that are developing infrastructure themselves, Johnson said.
Johnson said he thinks there is a good chance that some of the additional federal money would go to building more pipelines, which is a major component of the industry, rather than building more infrastructure.
Johnson said the state has been considering how much federal money it would be willing to allocate to help developers build pipelines to connect to more water sources.
He said he has been working with the Trump administration and with the state legislature on how much money would be appropriate for those projects, but he declined to give a specific amount.
The Trump administration is also looking at ways to expand the number of pipelines that could be built, Johnson added.
“We are looking at some of those projects and some are looking for additional money,” he said.
“We’ve got to get these pipelines to the water source that they need to be able to deliver those benefits,” Johnson said, adding that he believes there is an opportunity for the federal program to be extended.
“The Trump Administration is working to expand this program.
We’re talking to the Department for Justice about that,” he added.
But Johnson acknowledged that while there is some support for that from some members of Congress, he thinks it would take some time for the program to reach the levels of funding that it needs.
The Department of Justice has proposed extending the program for two years and $50 million in the past year.
However, Johnson also said that while it is not a bad idea to help build pipelines in rural areas, he would like to see more federal dollars go to helping develop and build infrastructure that could bring jobs and economic development to those areas.
There is some funding that is available to the state for that purpose, he said, and that would include the $8.5 billion in federal stimulus funds that the Obama administration was able to offer in December.
Johnson also praised a $2.3 billion federal grant program to help rural counties implement some of its water quality regulations, but that program is not expected to be fully implemented until 2019, he added, citing the fact that that the county level regulations are set by each county.
So, for the time being, I am not seeing any support for any of the new money, but I would like it to be as much as it can be and to be funded in the most efficient way,” Johnson added, adding, “I am not sure that it is going to be enough.