MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The state of Alabama has received a chunk of a USDA loan program to help build public facilities in impoverished rural areas.

The state was given a $40 million loan for a program the U.S. Department of Agriculture with Atmore-based United Bank to designate, ( reported. The USDA’s Community Facilities Relending Program is making $401 million available through a “relending” process.

Alabama claimed 10 percent of the total.

“Funds from the loan program can be used on a range of essential community facilities or equipment including healthcare facilities, town halls, courthouses, child care centers, fire departments, police vehicles, libraries, food pantries, and more,” U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne said. “This is certainly good news as many of our rural communities will be eligible to apply for these low-interest loans.”

The loans are available only to communities fewer than 20,000 people in rural areas known for a history of persistent history. The bank will fund projects in southwest Alabama and northwest Florida, but bank officials expect qualifying areas throughout Alabama could also be recipients.

Alex Jones, senior vice president of United Bank, said the rules of the program have not been finalized.

“This program is very new,” said Alex Jones, senior vice president of United Bank. “We have not seen the final rules yet.”

Jones said the bank will have five years to make loans based on the $40 million allocation.

Kentucky was the only allocation larger than $40 million routed through United Bank, according to a USDA breakdown. Two Mississippi-based lenders received $40 million.

There were no lenders included that were based in Louisiana, Florida, Tennessee or Georgia.