LEXINGTON HERALD LEADER
By Bill Estep and Daniel Desrochers
An agency that pumps millions of dollars each year into economic development in Eastern Kentucky and other Appalachian states would lose federal funding if President Donald Trump’s proposed budget prevails.
Trump would help pay for increased military spending and a U.S.-Mexico wall by eliminating money set aside for several independent agencies financed by the government, including the Appalachian Regional Commission.
The agency, which covers all or parts of 13 Appalachian states, has been a conduit for hundreds of millions in aid to Eastern Kentucky since it was founded in 1965.
Between October 2015 and January 2017 alone, the ARC supported 63 projects in Kentucky totaling $31.9 million, the agency said Thursday. That spending, which has been matched by more than $65 million in other aid, is projected to create or retain more than 1,200 jobs and provide education or workforce training to more than 2,300 people in the state’s 54 ARC counties, the agency said.
Extra money and services are targeted to so-called distressed counties with high unemployment, low incomes and high poverty. Kentucky has the largest concentration of such counties of any Appalachian state — 37 in fiscal year 2017.
Overall, the number of high-poverty counties in Appalachia has dropped from 295 in 1960 to 84 in fiscal year 2017 because of work by the ARC and other programs, the agency said Thursday.
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) March 16, 2017
Read about the full $45M in POWER grants for workforce development announced in 2016:
Get a summary of 2015 POWER grants implemented by the Appalachian Regional Commission: