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Welch seeks funding for Northern Border Regional Commission

March 6, 2009
Press Release

Rep. Peter Welch called on the Commerce Department Friday to direct funding from the recently-passed stimulus bill to the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC), a federal-state entity that would promote job creation and economic development in the northernmost counties of Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and New York.

In a letter to the Commerce Department, Welch and four other House members from the region urged the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to fund the NBRC, as provided for in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The NBRC, which was authorized last May by the 2008 Farm Bill, would support job-creating efforts in agriculture, alternative energy, broadband, forestry and transportation in Vermont's Caledonia, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle Lamoille and Orleans counties.

"This economy has been difficult for all Vermonters, but it has been especially trying for those in our northernmost counties, who were struggling long before the current economic downturn. As we look to revive, reinvigorate and rebuild our economy, there is no better place to invest than in northern Vermont," Welch said. "If funded, this Commission has the potential to invest significant federal resources into local Vermont projects focused on economic development and job creation. Working with regional neighbors who share many of our challenges and resources, we have the potential to transform northern Vermont."

The letter to the Commerce Department follows:


March 5, 2009

Ms. Sandra R. Walters

Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development

U.S. Department of Commerce

1401 Constitution Ave., NW

Washington, DC 20230-0002

Dear Ms. Walters,

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 included statutory language in support of a transfer of funds from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to regional economic development commissions.  We respectfully request that you direct funding to the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC).  By funding the NBRC, we can create jobs in our region through the investment of federal resources in the most economically distressed areas of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York.

As the authors and cosponsors of language authorizing the NBRC, we strongly believe in its approach to regional economic development, which is based on the highly successful Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) model.  This effective public-private partnership model has enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support because it works and because it has been a good investment for the American taxpayer.  For example, in Fiscal Year 2005, each dollar of ARC funding leveraged $2.57 in other public funding and $8.46 in private funding.  This represents a tremendous return on investment.

Our entire region has been faced with tough economic circumstances that have caused us to lose jobs and businesses, see our incomes stay flat, and see our young people leave.  The NBRC will help us tackle these problems together in a targeted way that has a proven track record of success. Working with the NBRC, our state leaders, communities, economic development experts, and local stakeholders will work together to promote solutions to our shared, regional challenges and return our constituents to work.

Thank you for your consideration of our request to help bring economic development and jobs to the Northern Border region.


Paul W. Hodes                           Michael H. Michaud

Member of Congress                      Member of Congress

Michael A. Arcuri                       Chellie Pringree

Member of Congress                      Member of Congress

Peter Welch

Member of Congress


Rahm Emmanuel, Chief of Staff, The White House

Melanie Barnes, Domestic Policy Advisor, The White House