ATOKA, Okla. (KTEN) — The City of Atoka is another step closer to water infrastructure improvements thanks to a $4 million grant approved by the US Department of Agriculture.

City staff gathered in downtown Atoka on Thursday morning for a check presentation from the USDA. The money will be allocated to upgrade equipment at the water treatment plant and for rehabilitation of water towers and valves.

"Without these funds, it would be very difficult to achieve that and keep our rates at a reasonable rate for our citizens," said Mayor Brian Cathey. "Going forward, there's always going to be long-term maintenance that has to be done on these infrastructure components for our city."

Under the Biden administration, more than $2.8 billion has been invested in rural towns and cities across the nation.

"Since the start of the Biden Administration there's been over 2.8 billion dollars that has been invested to rural communities specifically and then they can add another 5.8 billion dollars that's been invested because of the infrastructure laws," Kenneth Corn, State Director of USDA Developments in Rural Oklahoma said. 

According to Corn, Atoka is a prime example of where funds are needed most. 

"The president believes in the last 40 years rural communities have been left behind particularly our water systems, most of them are about 100 years old and they just don't meet the standards," Corn said. 

Cathey applied for the grant, he believes the money will enhance the growth in the city, that's already evident from the past few years. 

"I'm pleased they've recognized the need in rural Oklahoma. This is the backbone of the country and to help us with those infrastructure dollars is key," Cathey said.