President Bush Signs ARC Reauthorization Legislation
WASHINGTON, October 9, 2008—On October 8, 2008, President George W. Bush signed legislation reauthorizing appropriations for the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) through fiscal year (FY) 2012.The legislation, the Appalachian Regional Development Act Amendments of 2008 (S. 496), provides a five-year reauthorization for ARC's nonhighway programs; requires the designation of at-risk counties and permits ARC to fund projects in those counties at up to 70 percent of project costs; creates a new energy and economic development initiative; adds ten counties to the Appalachian Region; and requires that funding for any congressionally directed projects be taken out of the allocation of the state in which the project is funded.
The appropriations authorized for ARC range, in ascending amounts, from $87 million for FY 2008 to $110 million for FY 2012.
The ten new Appalachian counties are: Ashtabula, Mahoning, and Trumbull in Ohio; Metcalfe, Nicholas, and Robertson in Kentucky; Lawrence and Lewis in Tennessee; and Henry and Patrick in Virginia.
ARC Federal Co-Chair Anne B. Pope welcomed the authorizing legislation: "This is an important vote of confidence from Congress and the president for the ongoing work of the Appalachian Regional Commission to bring Appalachia into economic parity with the rest of the nation. It will enable us to continue with programs to build vital infrastructure, grow jobs, and increase the competitiveness of the Region in today's global economy."
Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi, ARC's 2008 states' co-chair, said, "The Appalachian Regional Commission has proven to be a strong partner with the people of Appalachia in bringing much-needed economic development to the Region. This reauthorization recognizes ARC's success in bringing tens of thousands of jobs to Appalachian communities over the past 43 years."ARC's 2008 annual conference, Tomorrow's Workforce: Strategies for Appalachia's Future, will be held October 22–23 at the BancorpSouth Conference Center in Tupelo, Mississippi. Conference information is available at www.arc.gov.