The House approved adding the counties to the commission two other times.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN — The U.S. House approved a bill that includes a provision to include Mahoning, Trumbull and Ashtabula counties to the Appalachian Regional Commission.
The designation would make the counties eligible for additional federal funding for economic development projects. The ARC receives about $65 million a year in federal funding for community and development programs targeted toward local economic growth.
The provision was included in the Appalachian Regional Development Act Amendments of 2007, passed 322-70 on Monday by the U.S. House.
This is the third time the House approved the Appalachian bill including the three counties in the ARC. The Senate didn’t include language in the final Appalachian bill to add any new counties in the two previous bills.
Area reps’ work
U.S. Reps. Steven C. LaTourette of Concord Township, R-14th, and Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, have worked to get the counties into the ARC.
“This is another piece of the puzzle for the economic resurgence of our community,” Ryan said.
LaTourette added that if the counties are added to the ARC, it would give them “a leg up on getting federal help for road, sewer, education and workforce training, health care and community revitalization projects.”
Nearly 23 million people live in the 410 counties in the region that follows the Appalachian Mountains from southern New York to northern Mississippi. Columbiana County in Ohio and Mercer and Lawrence counties in Pennsylvania are in the ARC. It’s been five years since any new counties were added to the commission.
The bill approved by the House adds 10 other counties to the commission besides Mahoning, Trumbull and Ashtabula.