Money will fund rural schools, roads |

Money will fund rural schools, roads

Nicole Frey

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Forest Service said it expects to rake in about $800 million over five years as it sells off public land around the country. The proceeds of the sales will go toward schools and roads in rural communities that have seen a loss of funds because of a dwindling logging industry. Named the Secure Rural School and Community Self-Determination Act, the act was created in 2000 and benefited towns like Vail, Breckenridge, Aspen and Glenwood Springs last year. In the past, the Forest Service returned 25 percent of its revenues, such as funds collected from timber sales and grazing fees, to states with national forests. But with timber harvests sliding, many states have seen a drop off in funds. So the act was created to make up for the loss. The $800 million will fund a five-year extension of the act. But at the end of the five-year period, the Forest Service plans to phase out the payments to 717 counties in 41 states. “This is a short -term solution to allow states and counties to readjust their priorities and programs so that they are no longer dependent on the Secure Rural school program,” said a press release from the Forest Service’s Washington D.C. office. Staff Writer Nicole Frey can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14621, or Vail, Colorado

Support Local Journalism