Sneak Preview: USDA Seeks Rural Infrastructure Investors

January 9, 2012 | By Adrianne Fielding | Post a Comment

(This article originally appeared in the Jan. 9 issue of Thompson’s Local/State Funding Report.) The Department of Agriculture recently requested inquiries from potential investors for its rural infrastructure projects. USDA’s $150 billion loan portfolio includes $5.3 billion for community facilities program, which helps rural communities to construct, enlarge, expand or otherwise improve facilities that provide essential services to rural residents. Such facilities must be available for public use and can include public hospitals, fire stations, child care facilities, food recovery and distribution centers; assisted-living facilities; group homes, mental health clinics, and shelters; and education facilities.

Noting that the community facilities program has been oversubscribed in recent years and has a backlog of deserving projects, USDA is seeking investors to leverage the program’s loan funds. Such investments will support the agency’s interest in expanding rural communities’ access to capital.

The agency expressed a willingness to consider a wide range of investment structures. Emphasizing that the strong due diligence process that informs the agency’s loan-making decisions has resulted in a well-performing portfolio of projects, the agency is most interested in investors who are looking to make long-term, low-risk investments.

Potential investors should provide their contact information to Doug O’Brien at infrastructure.investments@osec.usda.gov no later than Jan. 26, 2012.

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