FUNDING RECENTLY ANNOUNCED FOR NEW MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR WATER LINE REPLACEMENT PROJECT RUNNING BETWEEN CATLETTSBURG AND LOUISA
On Tuesday, September 12, 2023, senior ranking Kentucky U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced of the decision by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), that they had awarded $4,351,300 in federal funding to the Big Sandy Water District (BSWD) for the Donithan Area Waterline Replacement Project.
The funds will allow the Big Sandy Water District to replace a faulty waterline between Louisa and Catlettsburg. Local officials have said this waterline has had five breaks in the past year.
A new line will be installed along Kentucky Route 3 North. It will run to a new 100,000-gallon water storage tank located near Donithan Branch.
The project will be funded by an Appalachian Regional Commission subprogram that was established by Senator McConnell, for water and other infrastructure priorities in distressed counties throughout Central Appalachia.
“Kentuckians deserve reliable access to safe drinking water, and this starts with maintaining and upgrading our water systems. Today’s substantial investment will fund much-needed water line improvements, serving hundreds of rural households and greatly improving their quality of life,” said Senator Mitch McConnell. “I’m proud to see the ARC program I established invest in Eastern Kentucky’s water infrastructure, and I’ll continue my work in the Senate to ensure the federal government prioritizes resources for Kentucky’s communities that need them the most.”
The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is a United States federal–state partnership that works with the people of Appalachia to create opportunities for self-sustaining economic development and improved quality of life. Congress established ARC, and it was officially formed after being signed into law by President Lydon Baines Johnson on March 9, 1965, to bring the region into socioeconomic parity with the rest of the nation.The Appalachian Region, as defined by Congress, includes all of West Virginia and portions of 12 other states: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. ARC serves 423 counties and 8 independent cities that encompass roughly 205,000 square miles (530,000 km2), with a population of more than 25 million people.
The Appalachian Regional Commission has 14 members: the governors of the 13 Appalachian states and a federal co-chair, who is appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. A professional staff carries out the work of the Commission.
The current federal co-chair is Gayle Conelly Manchin. Manchin was appointed by President Joe Biden and confirmed by the Senate on April 29, 2021, by voice vote. The 2021 states’ co-chair was Virginia Governor Ralph Northam prior to the expiration of his term following the 2021 election. Grassroots participation is provided through 73 local development districts, which are multi-county organizations with boards made up of elected officials, business people, and other local leaders. The ARC is a planning, research, advocacy, and funding organization. It does not have any governing power within the region.
ARC has helped cut the number of high-poverty counties in Appalachia from 295 in 1960 to 91 in 2015, reduce the infant mortality rate by two-thirds, and double the percentage of high school graduates. From 2010 to 2015, ARC programs helped create or retain over 101,000 jobs in Appalachia through projects that include entrepreneurship, education and training, health care, telecommunications, business development, and basic infrastructure. Grants during that period leveraged almost $2.7 billion in private investments.
ARC commissioned a report on diseases of despair, which found that deaths due to drug overdose, suicide, and alcoholic liver disease were higher than average, especially in the parts of Appalachia under the most economic stress.