Commissioner Dunahoo Testifies Before U.S. House Appropriations Concerning Funding to ARC

Press Release - 05/08/2017

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 8, 2017) - Last Wednesday, Commissioner Sandra Dunahoo of the Department for Local Government (DLG) testified before the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water just hours before Congress passed the fiscal year 2017 Omnibus Appropriations bill that included $152 million in federal funding to the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).

“We are doing everything we can in Kentucky to steward and marshal our resources wisely to ensure funding for our most basic and critical needs by cutting red tape, reducing the burden on small business, and incentivizing economic development,” said DLG Commissioner Sandra Dunahoo. “There are many who underestimate the strength, resilience and spirit of the people throughout Appalachia to live and thrive under tremendously adverse conditions. We are looking forward to the day when we no longer look to ARC for assistance, but for now their partnership with Kentucky is greatly appreciated.”

Founded in 1965, ARC currently serves 13 states, 420 counties, and over 25 million Americans. The purpose of ARC programs and operations include economic diversification in coal-impacted communities, basic infrastructure projects, high-speed broadband access, and workforce development to benefit economically distressed counties of Appalachia.

Historically, there were 219 distressed counties in the 13 state ARC region in 1965. Today the total number of distressed counties in the ARC region is now 84, while 38 distressed counties remain in Kentucky. This year’s House bill ensures the continuation of federal funding to the ARC program, with an overall $6 million increase over last year. The legislation also includes $10 million to increase broadband access in Appalachia.

“Not only does the federal spending bill save the ARC from elimination, it provides historic funding for the agency to continue the vital services and grant programs that have boosted economic development in our struggling coalfields and helped lift countless families out of poverty,” said Congressman Hal Rogers who voted in support of the bill. “Thanks to the ARC, we have ramped up job creation, tourism and the battle against drug abuse in our hardest hit counties in southern and eastern Kentucky. I applaud Commissioner Dunahoo for advocating for the people of our region through her support of the ARC.”

"I appreciate the advocacy of Commissioner Dunahoo for Kentucky priorities in Washington last week," said Congressman Andy Barr. "As we work to get our spending and debt problem under control, I will continue to work with Governor Bevin, Commissioner Dunahoo, and other Members of the Kentucky delegation to make sure we continue to prioritize the programs that benefit our communities, grow our economy, improve our infrastructure and provide essential services to the people of the Commonwealth."

The Appalachian Regional Counties in Kentucky include: Adair, Bath, Bell, Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Casey, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Cumberland, Edmonson, Elliott, Estill, Fleming, Floyd, Garrard, Green, Greenup, Harlan, Hart, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Lincoln, McCreary, Madison, Magoffin, Martin, Menifee, Metcalfe, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Nicholas, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Powell, Pulaski, Robertson, Rockcastle, Rowan, Russell, Wayne, Whitley, and Wolfe.