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Appalachian Regional Commission – June 7, 2018

In the Region: A weekly snapshot of news, announcements, and other tidbits from the Appalachian Regional Commission
ARC NEWS ROUNDUP  |  June 7, 2018  |  VOLUME 3, ISSUE 23

ARC SPOTLIGHT

The Appalachian Development Highway System was designed to generate economic development in previously isolated areas, supplement the interstate system, connect Appalachia to the interstate system, and provide access to areas within the Region as well as to markets in the rest of the nation.

Transportation Connects Appalachia to Growth

Modernizing the Region’s transportation system to expand Appalachia’s market opportunities has been at the core of ARC’s work for decades. This week,  ARC hosted the Network Appalachia Advisory Council, a group of transportation experts from each of the Region’s 13 states, for their annual meeting discuss intermodal transportation developments, issues and opportunities in the Region. While the completion of the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS) remains a strategic priority, ARC continues to invest in transportation connectivity, mobility and trade in Appalachia, leverage funding and implementation opportunities, and help the Region prioritize multimodal transportation initiatives. As part of the Network Appalachia meeting, ARC welcomed Robert Mariner from the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) to discuss the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) discretionary grant program (formerly known as TIGER). On April 20, USDOT released the Notice of Funding Opportunity for BUILD and applications are due July 19, 2018. The BUILD program makes $1.5 billion available for road, bridge, transit, rail, port and intermodal transportation projects, including $15 Million for planning projects. All state and local government entities are eligible to apply. The program has a rural focus this year, which presents a great opportunity for projects in the Appalachian Region. ARC is offering technical assistance to prospective applicants from the Appalachian Region to assist with developing or refining applications.

In addition to the Network Appalachia meeting, ARC helped to organize and took part in the 6th International Transportation and Economic Development (I-TED) conference held in Washington, DC this week. Presented by the Transportation Research Board, with the theme of “Relationships between Multimodal Transportation & Economic Development: Policy, Infrastructure, & Technology,” the I-TED conference convenes every four years as an important forum to discuss approaches and research to integrate mobility to enhance communities’ ability to develop a sustainable economy and focused on rural transportation on economic development in places like Appalachia.

INVESTMENTS IN ACTION

Extensions of the Mary Black Trail in Spartanburg, South Carolina connects users to economic, recreational, and healthy living opportunities. Partners for Active Living(source of photo) is a project partner. 

On the Trail to Economic Development

In addition to the Appalachia’s famous namesake trail, there is a world of other hiking, biking, and walking trails criss-crossing the region. In the past two years alone, ARC has invested $4.3 million in 26 different trail projects, from planning and research to construction. These investments not only establish or improve the physical trails themselves, but benefit the economic development efforts of surrounding and connecting communities. Indeed, leveraging the Region’s natural and cultural assets to strengthen Appalachia’s community and economic development is part of ARC’s current Strategic Plan.

For instance, in Appalachian South Carolina, the City of Spartanburg is using ARC and matching funds to extend the Mary Black Trail for bicycle and pedestrian users 3,700 linear feet into the city center. The project builds on a series of planning and construction projects to better connect the distressed communities of Spartanburg to economic, recreational, and healthy living opportunities. The trail extension will allow walking and biking commuters better access to the restaurants, shops, entertainment, educational, cultural, religious and institutional facilities along the trail corridor in Spartanburg. The city had estimated that the project, which is 70 percent complete, would serve 70,000 annual users. However, a recent count revealed approximately 94,000 annual users of the trail. ARC recently approved a second project to further extend the Mary Black Trail through Spartanburg’s Northside neighborhood, an area undergoing major redevelopment following a series of public and private investments. The connector will link two well-used trails, providing a protected pedestrian and bicycle route throughout the length of the city, serving an anticipated 22,000 new annual trail users. Public investments in trail and streetscape projects in downtown Spartanburg have led to multiple private developments: a $20 million hotel recently located in downtown Spartanburg, and private businesses have constructed walkways and public art to link to the trail. Several entities, including educational institutions and private housing developers, are investing in new buildings near the trail within the next three years.

APPALACHIA IN THE NEWS

Taking Flight: Coalfield Students Have High Hopes For Drone Industry JobsOhio Valley ReSource

St. Clairsville Gets $200K for New Water TowerThe Intelligencer, Wheeling, West Virginia

Free Wi-Fi coming to downtown GainesvilleThe Gainesville Times, Gainesville, Georgia

These EKU students made one of the best video games. It’s based on a Kentucky coal townLexington Herald-Leader, Lexington, Kentucky

Mountains of Music Homecoming opens June 8 here, across regionDickenson Star, Dickenson County, Virginia

UPCOMING EVENTS

POWER INITIATIVE RFP

ARC invites proposals from qualified researchers and consultants to monitor and evaluate the impacts to date of the Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative. POWER is a congressionally funded initiative that targets federal resources to help communities that have been affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America’s energy production. Proposals are due August 29, 2018Find out more.

JOB OPPORTUNITIES

ARC is currently recruiting candidates for four positions: a program coordinator who will facilitate and organize a broad range of tasks in support of the POWER Initiative; a business program analyst who will support entrepreneurial and business development strategies; a financial manager who will oversee the development, maintenance, and integrity of the agency’s accounting systems, and an intermodal transportation program analyst who will manage projects and initiatives that complement the success of the Appalachian Development Highway System and local access road program.

Complete position and application information is available on the ARC Job Opportunities page.

Map of the Appalachian Region
The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.
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