(WKBW release) New York Senator Charles E. Schumer on Thursday announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is giving Mercy Flight, Inc. a $1 million loan to help finance the purchase of a brand new Bell 429 rescue helicopter to help improve emergency services in Erie County, and a $1.65 million loan to help finance the purchase of a BK 117 helicopter to help improve emergency services in Olean and the surrounding area.
“These helicopters will help improve emergency response throughout many rural areas of Western New York,” said Schumer. “Thanks to these federal funds, Mercy Flight will be able to afford these state-of-the art choppers and reduce the time it takes to deliver the emergency care that residents deserve. I’m thrilled that the USDA has decided to loan their support for these critical projects.”
The $1 million loan is the final piece of the $6.5 million needed to purchase the Bell 429 helicopter. The $1.65 million loan will finance the purchase of a Bell BK117, which has more space for doctors and technicians and better flight controls.
The loan awards are being issued through the USDA’s Rural Development Community Facilities Program, which finances projects that are essential to rural communities including fire protection, safety, health care, and education. Through its Rural Development mission area, the USDA administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure, and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. The programs are meant to improve the quality of life for rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers, and ranchers.