AUGUSTA — The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing $20 million in a loan program to provide an economic boost to projects in rural Maine and elsewhere.

The USDA’s program will allow Coastal Enterprises Inc. to provide community loans that provide money for projects such as health care facilities, childcare center and schools.

USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel says the money will help support “essential community facilities that Maine’s rural residents rely on.”

Members of Maine’s congressional delegation cheered the move on Thursday. Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree says the money will help bring investment to parts of the state that often go overlooked.

The program is part of $400 million the USDA is investing in growing economies and eliminating poverty in rural areas around the country.

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