February 06, 2007

SENS. CARDIN & MIKULSKI CO-SPONSOR ARC REAUTHORIZATION BILL

Maryland Could Get Close to $1 Million More a Year in Funding

Susan Sullam, 410-962-4436

Oren Shur, 202-224-4525


WASHINGTON - Maryland Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski announced today that they have co-sponsored a bipartisan bill to renew funding for the Appalachian Region Commission (ARC) for a five-year period, 2007-2011. The bill will maintain the ARC's major programming initiatives.

Under the Appalachian Regional Commission Reauthorization Act, S 496, Maryland could receive approximately $2.77 million in 2007, an increase of close to a $1 million more than 2006 funding.

"The ARC represents one of our nation's most successful efforts in targeting economic development and opportunities to a region that has often been isolated. The bill maintains funding for a program that we know works and adds additional resources so communities can build on their success and offer greater economic opportunities to area residents," said Senator Cardin.

"The Appalachian Regional Commission offers federal investments in Western Maryland communities that create new jobs and opportunities today and tomorrow," said Senator Mikulski. "I will keep fighting for the resources Marylanders need to foster growth and economic development."

Maryland also receives approximately $6 million a year for its portion of the Appalachian highway system under ARC funding. In the past, this funding that has been used to build the National Freeway, for improvements to US 220 North and improvements to US 219 in Garrett County.

For the first time, the measure contains a separate authorization for an Economic and Energy Develop Initiative for the region. The initiative will allow the ARC to provide technical assistance and grants to promote energy efficiency to enhance economic competitiveness, increase the use of renewable energy resources, and support the development of conventional energy resources, especially clean coal. The bill also continues special funding for telecommunications and technology.

In Maryland, the ARC serves the three most western counties - Garrett, Allegany and Washington -- targeting primarily infrastructure, skills training, telecommunications, and community development. Last year, ARC funded five major projects in Maryland, which included: the Adventure Sports Center in Garrett County, the Frostburg State University Multi-Media Print Computer Graphic Design Lab, the Hagerstown Community College Local Government & Non-Profit Internet Communication Capacity Expansion, Allegany Community College Compressed Video Distance Learning System Upgrade, and the McHenry Business Park to accommodate new and expanding businesses in Garrett County.