Legislative Update: President Bush Approves Five-Year ARC Reauthorization, Continuing Resolution Extending ARC Funding
On October 8, 2008, President George W. Bush signed into law the Appalachian Regional Development Act Amendments of 2008 (S. 496), which reauthorizes the Appalachian Regional Commission for five years, through September 30, 2012.
The provisions of the legislation, which are effective immediately, include annual authorization levels of $87 million for fiscal year (FY) 2008; $100 million for FY 2009; $105 million for 2010; $108 million for FY 2011; and $110 million for FY 2012. The legislation requires the annual designation of economically "at risk" counties and permits ARC to fund up to 70 percent of the cost of projects it funds in those counties. The measure also creates a new economic and energy development initiative to fund activities in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and conventional energy resources through the use of advanced technologies that reduce emissions such as greenhouse gasses.
Additionally, the bill adds 10 new counties to the Appalachian Region: Ashtabula, Mahoning, and Trumbull Counties in Ohio; Metcalfe, Nicholas, and Robertson Counties in Kentucky; Lawrence and Lewis Counties in Tennessee; and Henry and Patrick Counties in Virginia. The bill also mandates that any earmarks come out of the recipient state's allocation; it continues ARC's existing programmatic authorities; and it maintains the role of the local development districts.
In other news, legislation continuing ARC's funding into FY 2009 was approved on September 30, 2008, when President Bush signed the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009 (P.L. 110-329). The law funds ARC's nonhighway programs at the FY 2008 level of $73 million through March 6, 2009.