WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Ben Cardin, (D-Md.) and Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) today introduced legislation to reauthorize the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). The legislation would authorize $100 million annually over the next five years, including $10 million a year to improve rural broadband services.
“As the only state that is entirely within the Appalachian region, West Virginia has benefitted from the Appalachian Regional Commission’s development assistance in rural areas,” said Senator Capito. “This reauthorization bill will continue the commission for five years and establish a new High-Speed Broadband Development Initiative that will help improve broadband service in West Virginia. In order to capitalize on all the potential opportunities that broadband can offer rural America, including economic growth, we must first ensure that these communities have access to the services they need.”
ARC is a regional economic development agency that represents a partnership of federal, state, and local governments. Established by an act of Congress in 1965, ARC is composed of the governors of the 13 Appalachian states and a federal co-chair, who is appointed by the President. Local participation is provided through multi-county local development districts.
ARC funds projects that would:
Each year ARC provides funding for several hundred projects in the Appalachian region, in areas such as business development, education and job training, telecommunications, infrastructure, community development, housing, and transportation. These projects create thousands of new jobs; improve local water and sewer systems; increase school readiness; expand access to health care; assist local communities with strategic planning; and provide technical and managerial assistance to emerging businesses.