Sinema reintroduced bipartisan bill creating jobs and expanding electric and broadband services serving rural Arizona farms, families, and businesses
WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema reintroduced a bipartisan, bicameral bill with Republican Senator John Hoeven (N.D.) that boosts jobs and expands electricity and broadband access across rural Arizona by allowing rural Arizona electric and telecommunications co-ops to adjust Rural Utilities Service loans.
“Allowing rural utility providers to refinance Rural Utilities Service loans helps create jobs and ensures rural Arizona communities can continue accessing electric and broadband services during the coronavirus pandemic” said Sinema.
Electric co-ops currently hold Rural Utilities Service debt with interest rates significantly higher than today’s rates, and have been hard hit by the COVID-19 global pandemic due to lower demand and unpaid bills. Sinema’s legislation allows co-ops to adjust their Rural Utilities Service loans and refinance to current market rates without penalty.
The Rural Utilities Service is a U.S. Department of Agriculture program that provide loans to electric co-ops to help them provide electric and broadband services to farms, residences, and businesses in rural areas. Outstanding Rural Utilities Service loans currently amount to approximately $40 billion nationwide and cannot be repaid early or otherwise modified without penalty.
Arizona electric co-ops bring electricity and broadband services to more than 400,000 customers in Mohave, Pima, Pinal, Graham, Greenlee, Navajo, Apache, and Cochise counties, playing a vital economic development in rural Arizona.