March 29, 2017

Van Hollen, Bipartisan Group of Senators Urge President Trump to Restore Funding to Appalachian Regional Commission

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen and nine Senators representing six states and both political parties are urging President Donald Trump to reverse his proposal to eliminate federal funding for the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). Since ARC was created in 1965, the federal-state partnership has worked with states, localities, and the business community to support the creation of thousands of new jobs and helped leverage billions of dollars in new economic investments across the Appalachian region, but the White House budget submitted to Congress earlier this month proposes to eliminate all federal funding to ARC.

In their letter to the President, Van Hollen (D) joined Senators Mark R. Warner (D) and Tim Kaine (D) of Virginia, Joe Manchin (D) and Shelley Moore Capito (R) of West Virginia, Sherrod Brown (D) and Rob Portman (R) of Ohio, Ben Cardin (D) of Maryland, Bob Casey (D) of Pennsylvania and Kirsten Gillibrand (D) of New York highlight the essential role the ARC has played in incentivizing new economic investments. ARC funds have been used to unlock additional state and private sector investments in regional infrastructure such as roads, clean drinking water and broadband access, the creation of targeted education and job training initiatives, and improved health outcomes for millions of Americans who live and work in the mostly rural Appalachian region.

"For 52 years the Appalachian Regional Commission has played an instrumental role in reducing poverty rates, providing economic opportunities, and extending basic necessities to communities throughout Appalachia. As President, we hope you recognize the tremendously positive effects the Commission has had on the people of Appalachia and continue to provide support for the agency so that it may carry on its mission of empowering rural America," the Senators said. "Eliminating this essential program would have devastating consequences for the more than 25 million Americans that live in the Appalachian Region today, who need it now more than ever."

Since its formation, the Commission has been an invaluable economic driver and job creator for the Appalachian Region. ARC has invested in 25,000 projects in Appalachia since 1965, totaling $3.8 billion. These investments are responsible for creating nearly 312,000 jobs and generating $10 billion in added earnings for the region. In addition, investments made by the Commission have been matched by $9 billion from other federal, state, and local funding sources, and every dollar invested by the Commission has leveraged an average of $6.40 from the private sector.

The full letter can be accessed here.