In a day and age where news travels fast and rumors even faster, one rumor making the rounds of municipalities, county governments and development authorities in Appalachia is that President Trump’s budget will not contain funding for the Appalachian Regional Commission.
The Daily Times approached the chairman of the Scioto County Commissioners, Bryan Davis, and Jason Kester, Director of the Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA) about that rumor.
“The only thing I’ve heard is what has been reported in the news,” Davis said. “I think there’s a lot of pushback on that and it’s definitely something I would disagree with strongly because Scioto County has been recipients of ARC money for quite a few projects, and here recently as a matter of fact. I think that Appalachia is still a disadvantaged area in our country that needs attention, and it’s an area of high unemployment.”
Davis said he understands the government needs to balance the budget, but hopes they can find funding elsewhere, “not on the backs of the disadvantaged area in our country,” Davis said.
Kester said the International Economic Development Council and the Ohio Economic Development Association are conducting significant lobbying efforts to avoid any cuts to the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the ARC, the Delta Regional Authority as being counter to economic development.
“There’s a concerted economic development effort to make sure that doesn’t happen,” Kester said.
ARC is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region, including Scioto County. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewisPDT.