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Press Release

Rep. Cuellar Secures $70 Million for Colonias, Rural Water Projects

FY22 Appropriations bill also includes language to support colonias and underserved rural communities; encourages more access to USDA’s Rural Development programs

Washington | Dana Youngentob, DC Press Secretary (202-340-9148), April 27, 2022

Washington, DC—Today, Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28), a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, announced $70,000,000 in funding for Grants to support Colonias and other communities covered under the Rural Water and Waste Disposal Program. This funding will help provide clean drinking water and waste disposal systems in rural areas and colonias in South Texas.

Additionally, the legislation urges USDA to reconsider the definition of colonias so that communities with higher population densities, but low incomes and substandard living conditions, are no longer excluded from critically needed funding programs. It also encourages USDA to support qualified non-profit organizations to provide technical assistance to help colonias communities along the southern border that suffer from high rates of poverty with accessing USDA’s water and wastewater programs and services.

“Access to clean drinking water and sanitation services is a basic need,” said Congressman Cuellar. “Safe drinking water and sanitary disposal systems protect us from waterborne disease, and are fundamentally important for public health. I secured this funding so my constituents in colonias and rural areas can have safe drinking water for their families.”

Cuellar also secured a $2 million earmark in the FY22 appropriations bill for Neighborworks Laredo. The funding will be used to support colonias residents in Webb and Zapata counties with the weatherization of over 110 homes. The aim is to provide them with a reduction in energy costs during the hot summer months. Repairs will result in an estimated savings of $80/month per family, amounting to more than $500,000 in savings over a 5-year span. 

The FY22 Omnibus Appropriations bill also includes many other key legislative rural development priorities for Congressman Cuellar, including support for rural broadband connectivity, farmworker and other rural housing programs, and funding for rural businesses and essential community facilities.