May 11, 2023

Cortez Masto, Daines Push Bipartisan Legislation to Support Rural Communities

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) re-introduced bipartisan legislation to help deliver more federal resources to rural communities in areas with large amounts of federal land. The U.S. government manages over 80% of the land in Nevada, and this limit rural localities’ ability to generate tax revenue. The More Opportunities for Rural Economies (MORE) Grants Package works to address this disparity by helping these communities access infrastructure and economic development grant funding. Companion legislation will be led in the U.S. House of Representatives by Chris Steward (R-Utah). Both bills are supported by the National and Nevada Associations of Counties.

“Nevada’s rural communities are surrounded by untaxable federally owned land, and I’m working across the aisle to make it easier for them to access grant funding to support their infrastructure and economic development,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “I’m in the Senate to serve all of Nevada, and I’ll keep working to support the rural Nevada businesses and families who are so essential to our state."

“Our State is better when all communities, large and small, are thriving and functioning at their best,” said Nathan Robertson, Mayor of the City of Ely. “Funding opportunities like these ensure that all Nevada citizens have access to the infrastructure and services they need.”

The More Opportunities for Rural Economies (MORE) Grants package would allow small rural counties where over 50% of the land is managed by the federal government to better access and secure grant funding. Qualified applicants would receive support through reduced local match requirements, increased technical assistance, and special consideration when applying for federal assistance. The legislative package is broken down in two bills.

  • The More Opportunities for Rural Economies (MORE) from USDA Grants Act would to increase access to USDA rural development, community facilities, rural energy, economic impact, distance learning, and broadband grant programs. This legislation is also cosponsored by Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) in the Senate and will be led in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT-02).
  • The More Opportunities for Rural Economies (MORE) from DOT Grants Act, would increase access to DOT infrastructure, public transportation, railroad, and airport grants. This legislation will be led in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT-02).

Further background on the legislation can be found here.

Senator Cortez Masto is a strong supporter of Nevada’s rural and agricultural communities and led the fight to protect the state’s family farms and ranches from an unfair tax hike. She led efforts in Congress to support Nevada’s mining industry, protecting tens of thousands of rural jobs and paving the way for Nevada to power the clean energy economy. She’s helped deliver robust grant funding for rural infrastructure, broadband, and transportation improvements. In 2020, she passed her bipartisan ACCESS BROADBAND Act to foster the development and growth of broadband resources rural communities. And, she’s introduced comprehensive legislation to help bolster wildfire prevention efforts, fund state-of-the-art firefighting equipment and programs, and support recovery efforts for rural communities impacted by fires.