Rolls Royce gets USDA loan to expand test facility

HANCOCK COUNTY — The Rolls Royce engine testing facility at Stennis Space Center will soon be expanding thanks in part to a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) loan program that is available only through rural electric cooperatives such as Coast Electric Power Association.

The USDA Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLEG) program allows businesses and city and county governmental entities to obtain loan funds at zero percent interest to spur economic development and job creation in rural areas. To be considered for REDLEG funding, the borrower must go through an application process in which they compete with other potential borrowers from across the country for a limited amount of federal loan funds. Those who are selected to receive funds have 10 years to repay the loan, with no payments due in the first year.

In the case of the Rolls Royce facility, the Hancock County Development Commission (HCDC) completed the USDA’s application process and will receive a $1.1 million loan through Coast Electric at 0 percent interest to build a fuel farm facility for a jet engine testing facility that Rolls Royce will then lease from the HCDC.

“In times like these, when we hear so much negative news about the state of the economy, I am proud that Coast Electric, through this USDA program, is able to bring funds to our communities that create jobs and have a positive impact on our local economy,” said Coast Electric vice president of Hancock County operations and economic development Guy Johnson.

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