Federal Bills Protect Construction Funding for Letcher County Prison & Job Creation in the Coalfields
WASHINGTON, DC -- The U.S. House of Representatives passed two comprehensive federal funding packages on Thursday to finalize government funding bills for Fiscal Year 2020. Congressman Hal Rogers, who is a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, secured millions in critical funding for economic development in Kentucky's Appalachian region, where coal-producing counties continue to rebuild after suffering the loss of more than 12,000 coal mining jobs during the Obama Administration's War on Coal.
Congressman Rogers championed a new Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) Pilot Grant Program in 2016 to fast-track competitive funding opportunities for economic development in coal-producing counties. This legislation continues the grant program, investing another $25 million in Kentucky alone.
"This bill provides $115 million for the AML Pilot Program, which has been monumentally successful in creating new economic development opportunities in Appalachia. This funding is a strong compliment to the Appalachian Regional Commission, which is robustly funded at $175 million in this package. Within the Department of Agriculture, there is strong emphasis on rural infrastructure, including broadband deployment," said Congressman Rogers. "The bill also allocates $30 million within the Economic Development Administration for assistance to coal mining communities that continue to struggle with the downturn in that industry."
The Appalachian Development Highway System will also receive $100 million for transportation improvements in the nation's Appalachian mountain region.
Additionally, the legislation protects construction funding for a new prison in Letcher County, rejecting a proposed rescission for the project. The prison is expected to create more than 300 new full-time jobs.
The bills passed the House on Tuesday afternoon and now head to the U.S. Senate for consideration.