USDA will provide $1.6 billion in loans and loan guarantees to rural electric cooperatives and utilities in 21 states, the Trump administration announced Monday.

The loans, part of USDA Rural Development’s Electric Loan Program, will go toward building and upgrading 9,128 miles of electric “transmission and distribution line.” According to a release, USDA will use $386 million of the loans to invest in smart grid technology, which “uses digital communications to detect and react to local changes in electricity usage.”

“Reliable and modern 21st century infrastructure, including electric infrastructure and smart grid technologies, is a cornerstone for prosperity in rural America,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in the release. “Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities in building their futures.”

The loans will go to rural electrical cooperatives and utilities in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. The funding is expected to impact the service of 1 million rural residents and businesses. 

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