Two North Carolina communities, the city of Dunn and Northampton County, are recipients of USDA funding as a part of the Biden-Harris “Investing In America” tour. These two projects are part of a grand total of 216 projects that were announced last Wednesday by US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and White House Domestic Policy Advisor, Neera Tanden. 

“Secretary Vilsack and Neera Tanden announced the awards during the Rural Prosperity town hall at Edgecombe Community College as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s fourth Investing in America tour,” according to the press release

Northampton County received a $5 million Community Facilities Grant, which will fund the construction of a 15,000 sq ft addition to the courthouse, to provide “critical services” to residents and businesses. The new facility will include offices for the county manager, taxes, register of deeds, finances, human resources, and information technology. This grant falls under the Rural Partners Network (RPN).

The second grant in North Carolina was awarded to the city of Dunn for upgrades to the East Side Pump Station (ESPS) to a capacity of 2,980 gallons-per-minute and three 1,600 gallon-per-minute suction pumps which will serve the eastern side of the city and Juniper Creek Outfall.

“The proposed project will consist of an installation of a new wet weather pump station, new 2.0-million-gallon EQ tank, new aeration and mixing equipment, new force main and gravity sewer piping, new electromagnetic flow meter and concrete flow meter vault as well as rebuilding three existing 50 HP suction lift pumps. The replacement of the existing electrical service disconnects, motor control center (MCC), other auxiliary electrical gear within the existing pump station building. Also, the installation of a new stand-by generator for backup power to the pump station, rehabilitation, and replacement of approximately 3,000 linear feet of 21-inch gravity sewer. The proposed project will reduce the inflow and infiltration issues and to eliminate citizens from remaining exposed to the sanitary sewer overflow conditions,” according to documents obtained by the Carolina Journal.

The funds for the project total over $12 million dollars and include a grant for approximately $3.5 million and a loan for approximately $8.6 million. The loan is a 40-year term with an interest rate of 2.1250%. The project is estimated to benefit 9,291 people. The city of Dunn is currently waiting on approval from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality before they can proceed with the project, Steve Neuschafer, Dunn city manager told the Carolina Journal. 

This project falls under the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program.  

President Biden’s Investing in America covers 216 projects across 45 states, Puerto Rico, and the North Mariana Islands. The projects will cost $772.6 million. The funds will bring reliable, high-speed internet; clean, safe water; and support for rural families, agricultural producers and small businesses, according to the White House.

“President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is transforming our country for the better – reaching communities in every corner of the United States, including those that have too often been left behind,” said Secretary Vilsack, according to the press release. “The investments I’m announcing today will help us build our economy from the middle out and bottom up by bringing high-speed internet, clean water, modern infrastructure and good-paying jobs to communities in rural areas, in turn making it more possible for young people to build a good life in the communities they love, and for more Americans to find new opportunity in rural communities.”

North Carolina is viewed as a key swing state in the upcoming presidential election, featuring incumbent Biden. Despite the Biden administration’s Investing in America tour, Republicans enjoy a generic ballot advantage over Democrats, according to the latest Carolina Journal poll.

Northampton County officials did not respond to CJ’s request for comments regarding this story.