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South Texas News

USDA Announces $28.9 Million Federal Funding for Water Infrastructure in Starr County

On February 2, 2024, Congressman Henry Cuellar, Ph.D. (TX-28), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) jointly announced a federal funding allocation of $28,945,000 for the Union Water Supply Corporation in Starr County.

Dr. Cuellar, a Senior Member of the House Appropriations Committee, emphasized the significance of the funding in addressing the growing demand for water infrastructure in Starr County. He stated, "As Starr County grows, so does its need for proper water infrastructure. Today’s award will increase Union Water Supply Corporation’s capacity for water treatment for many years to come, ensuring access to water in our community."

Expressing gratitude for the collaboration, Dr. Cuellar thanked Lillian Salerno, USDA Rural Development State Director for Texas, Marlene Mendoza-De La Torre, President of the Union Water Supply Board of Directors, and County Commissioner Eloy Garza for their efforts in securing federal support for Starr County.

Lillian Salerno, USDA Rural Development State Director for Texas, commended Union Water Supply Corporation for taking a proactive approach to ensure essential services, such as the wastewater plant expansion project, are available for residents both now and in the future. She highlighted the USDA's commitment to providing grants and loans to support infrastructure projects in rural areas.

Marlene Mendoza-De La Torre, President of the Union Water Supply Corporation Board of Directors, expressed gratitude for the long-awaited project, stating, "This is a project that has been many years in the making. These funds will serve to improve the lives of all our corporation members. I’m very grateful to USDA for their support of this project and to all my fellow board members, both past and present, for their contributions and dedication to our community."

Administered by the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS), the funds will be utilized to rehabilitate and expand Union Water Supply Corporation’s existing water treatment plant. The project aims to add 2.5 million gallons (MGD) capacity, bringing the total capacity to 4.0 MGD, increase clear well capacity to 0.8 MGD, and include river station rehabilitation and distribution system upgrades.

The breakdown of the funding includes a RUS Persistent Poverty Loan of $8,541,000.00, a RUS Persistent Poverty Grant of $13,118,027.78, and a RUS Regular Grant of $7,285,973.00, making the total federal funding $28,945,000.78.

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