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Southern Illinois Congressman Mike Bost Thursday introduced bipartisan legislation to expand access to emergency funding for rural areas.
The Emergency Rural Community Relief Act would allow rural communities with fewer than 20-thousand residents to utilize USDA Community Facility Program grants in times of emergency to operate community essential facilities, including the construction of temporary drive thru COVID-19 testing and vaccine distribution sites and personal protective equipment disposal locations.

Currently, the Community Facility Program grants can only be used to construct essential facilities in rural communities. The Emergency Rural Community Relief Act allows the grants to be used for operational expenses as well.