One of the many great things about Missouri’s third district are the countless small towns spread throughout our area. As someone who grew up in a town of approximately 300 people, I understand the great things a rural community offers, but I also understand some of the frustrations that come with it as well.
As many of you know, many of these frustrations stem from aging infrastructure which needs to be updated and modernized. That’s why I recently sent a letter to my colleagues on the House Committee on Appropriations to urge them to strongly support Rural Utilities Service (RUS) Electric Loans in the 2019 appropriations bills that are currently being developed
In Missouri, consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives serve more than 1.5 million rural customers. These cooperatives cover 75% of the United States’ land mass, maintaining nearly half of all electric distribution lines in the country. In order to fund the generation and distribution of affordable electric service through these cooperatives, RUS loans are becoming increasingly necessary. These special loans provide funds to expand, upgrade and modernize our nation’s aging rural electric infrastructure.
Recently, I received great news that Three Rivers Electric Cooperative will be receiving a $15 million loan to fund projects in Mid-Missouri. These funds will be used to build an additional 72 miles of electrical lines, improve 100 miles of lines, and invest in further system improvements. Not only will they build out and improve existing infrastructure, but the RUS loan also provides funding for smart grid projects.
These investments are critical for the 20,000 constituents and 1,600 businesses in our district served by Three Rivers Electric Cooperative. Serving Osage, Gasconade, Cole, Maries, Miller, Franklin and Moniteau counties, Three Rivers Electric cooperative will utilize these funds to continue to provide affordable and reliable electric services across our area.
Looking forward, I am hopeful that the House Committee on Appropriations will continue to fund RUS loans and investments in our district. In addition to these investments, I am still working hard with my colleagues in the House to continue to expand rural broadband access across Missouri.
No matter where you live, all Americans deserve reliable access to 21st Century advancements.