The funds are a mixture of economic and community development investments aimed at helping spur economic opportunities for rural Americans.

“The capital investments announced today goes to the heart of our commitment to rural America," said Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman. "The grants will help community leaders bring new business and jobs to their community; provide fire, rescue and public safety to protect rural families and support educational opportunities that increase the ability to compete in the global marketplace."

The $45 million will help fund 129 first responder and public safety requests, create or save nearly 1,000 jobs through financing of over 130 businesses, assist 24 Tribal colleges rebuild and renovate educational facilities and 16 Tribal governments with business development.

Funds will also assist in the construction of municipal facilities such as courthouses, city halls, libraries and other essential community facilities, Veneman said.

To assist with developing transportation systems in rural areas, the Community Transportation Association of America was selected to receive $750,000 in grants to expand a new transit system in Oklahoma and create new transit systems for tribes in Arizona and South Dakota as well as develop or expand rural transportation services in Utah, Louisiana, Mississippi, Vermont and Hawaii.

A complete list by program area can be found at www.rurdev.usda.gov/. Funding of individual recipients will be contingent upon meeting the conditions of the grant agreement.

USDA Rural Development's mission is to deliver programs in a way that will support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents. As a venture capital entity, Rural Development provides equity and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technology infrastructure.

Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA's web site at www.rurdev.usda.gov/.

e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com