~ Highlights increased federal investment in ARC ~
U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) recently released the following statement after the U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed Tim Thomas, President Trump’s nominee to be the Federal Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission:
“I was proud to support Mr. Thomas’ nomination to lead federal efforts to foster economic development in Appalachia,” said Sen. Warner. “Despite the Administration’s attempt to defund the Appalachian Regional Commission, I worked with my colleagues on a bipartisan funding agreement this week that just increased its funding by $3 million – the highest level approved in decades. Now that he has been confirmed as its co-chair, I trust Mr. Thomas will carry out his duties with a clear focus on expanding economic opportunities in the region, and I look forward to working together to achieve this.”
The Appalachian Regional Commission is a federal-state partnership that has invested in 25,000 projects across Appalachia’s 420 counties. For more than fifty years, ARC has provided funding and support for job-creating community projects across the 13 Appalachian states, producing an average of $204 million in annual earnings for a region often challenged by economic underdevelopment. Since its inception in 1965, ARC has generated over 300,000 jobs and $10 billion for the 25 million Americans living in Appalachia.
A bipartisan Congressional budget agreement passed by Congress recently included a $3 million increase in additional funding for ARC, for a total of $155 million in FY18. In his budget plan, President Trump had proposed eliminating funding for the ARC entirely. In response, Sen. Warner and a bipartisan coalition of Senators who represent Appalachian states called on President Trump to reverse his proposal to zero out funding for this essential federal-state partnership. In 2017 alone, Sen. Warner announced over $7 million in ARC grant funding for projects in Virginia’s Appalachian counties.
Sen. Warner serves as a co-chair of the bipartisan Senate Appalachia Initiative, which has laid out a roadmap for bipartisan legislation to jumpstart economic growth in the region. He has introduced bipartisan legislation to support and encourage public-private partnerships in Appalachia that improve regional infrastructure, encourage entrepreneurship and create jobs.
-Submitted by Rachel Cohen