Obama Administration Requests $95 Million for ARC for FY 2016
WASHINGTON, February 2, 2015—The Obama administration today proposed a federal budget for fiscal year (FY) 2016 that requests $95 million for the Appalachian Regional Commission's (ARC) community and economic development programs.
In the budget, $25 million is designated for implementing the POWER+ (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Plan to help communities adversely affected by the decline in coal-related jobs. The POWER+ Plan would help diversify their economies, create new employment opportunities, and strengthen workforce competitiveness.
ARC would be the major recipient of funding for the economic diversification program of the $55 million multi-agency initiative, with its dollars used for a regional grant competition.
ARC Federal Co-Chair Earl F. Gohl said, "President Obama's FY 2016 budget continues the administration's strong support for the work of the Appalachian Regional Commission in building a better economic future for the Region. The additional funding allocated to ARC as a key element of the POWER+ Plan demonstrates the administration's commitment to the Appalachian Region and its confidence in the work of ARC."
Kentucky Governor and 2015 ARC States' Co-Chair Steven Beshear said, "With Appalachia experiencing job loss due to a steady decline in the mining sector, our region is especially supportive of the POWER+ Plan and the substantial investment it represents in building a more diversified economy, promoting entrepreneurship, and creating new jobs for our citizens. We look forward to its approval by Congress and implementation in the coming months."
The Commission's programs promote emerging economic opportunities and are designed to advance the four main goals of the ARC strategic plan:
- Increase job opportunities and per capita income in Appalachia to reach parity with the nation.
- Strengthen the capacity of the people of Appalachia to compete in the global economy.
- Develop and improve Appalachia's infrastructure to make the Region economically competitive.
- Build the Appalachian Development Highway System to reduce Appalachia's isolation.
Within these goals, the diversification of the Appalachian economy continues to be a major objective of the Obama administration's interagency team focus on the challenges facing the Region.
The administration's budget proposal will now go to Congress for its consideration.