|What is the ARC?
The ARC is a federal agency that was founded in 1965 as part of President Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty. Its mission is to "be an advocate for and partner with the people of Appalachia to create opportunities for self-sustaining economic development and improved quality of life."
It makes "seed-money" grants to address specific goals including improvements to physical infrastructure (highways, water and sewer, telecommunications), education/workforce training, leadership (encouraging the development of community-based organizations), local economy improvement (assistance to entrepreneurs) and health care.
What areas are
covered by the ARC?
The region includes all 55 of West Virginia's counties and 351 counties in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
Depending on a variety of economic indicators such as per capita income and unemployment rate, each county falls into one of four categories: attainment (at or above national economic indicators), competitive (approaching national), transitional (below national) and economically distressed (well below national).
West Virginia has no attainment counties, two competitive counties (Putnam and Jefferson), 27 transitional counties and 26 distressed counties.
Distressed counties, which are among those currently targeted for more ARC funding, are: Barbour, Boone, Braxton, Calhoun, Clay, Fayette, Gilmer, Lewis, Lincoln, Logan, Mason, McDowell, Mingo, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Raleigh, Randolph, Ritchie, Roane, Summers, Taylor, Upshur, Webster, Wetzel, Wirt and Wyoming.
The commission has a 14-member board made up of the governors of each of its 13 member states and one presidential appointee.
Applications for ARC funding are funneled through each state's Office of the Governor, which determines which projects are priorities and sends them on to the commission for a vote.
Counties pursuing funding should contact the state Development Office at 1-800-982-3386 or contact Kiernan by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What has been spent statewide & locally?
Of the $7.8 billion spent region wide in the last 35 years, $5 billion went toward more than 3,000 miles of highway construction.
West Virginia received more than $1 billion of these highway funds.
Statewide, West Virginia's portion of the remaining $2.8 billion has been about $288 million spread over more than 1,700 projects.
Local counties have received the following non-highway funding: Barbour -- $4,534,187; Braxton -- $4,121,286; Doddridge -- $651,167; Gilmer -- $1,286,091; Harrison -- $5,977,296; Lewis -- $399,651; Marion -- $7,512,344; Monongalia -- $3,938,037; Randolph -- $5,531,529; Ritchie -- $964,934; Taylor -- $4,101,609; Tucker -- $3,214,966; Tyler -- $1,284,430; Upshur -- $4,557,160; and Wetzel -- $2,106,800.
Highway funding has built 299 miles of roads. In non-highway funding, sewer and water projects have been a big target.
Smaller projects range from hospital and college building construction to airports.
In 1999, about $11 million in non-highway funding came to West Virginia.
Projects, which were each located in or involved a distressed county, included such items as the construction of a water treatment plant for Summersville/Nicholas County; water/sewer upgrades in McDowell County; improvement/expansion of the Glenville Wastewater Treatment Plant; water/sewer service extension to Mingo County's Wood Products Industrial Park; and development funding for the Marion County technology park on I-79.
As evidence of the ARC's shift toward funding more distressed-county projects, Kiernan offered the following state statistics, the latter of which retroactively apply current classification criteria to allow a uniform comparison:
n between 1983-99, about 66 percent (about $52.6 of $80 million) of single-county-project, non-highway funding went to distressed counties.
n in comparison, about 42 percent of like funding occurred in an earlier sample period, 1970-79 (about $37.3 of $87.6 million).
Compiled by Regional Editor Nora Edinger with information provided by the ARC.