Why rural communities struggle to bring in much-needed federal grants

Hand holding out money, multiple hands receiving

A new analysis suggests that over half of communities in the West lack the capacity to take advantage of infrastructure bill funding. Now what?

Researchers examined 10 factors that influenced how well-equipped communities were to apply for grant funding, and then used those factors to calculate each county and community’s “rural capacity” score. For instance, Missoula County, Montana, home to the state’s second-largest city and flagship university campus, scored 94 out of 100, while Carter County, Montana, where there is no county head of planning and just 20% of adult residents have attended college, scored just 45, the lowest in the state.

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