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Statement by the President on the Appalachian Region Highway Construction Program.

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Statement by the President on the Appalachian Region Highway Construction Program.

President Lyndon B. Johnson
May 12, 1965

I HAVE been informed by Governor Carl E. Sanders of Georgia, the State Cochairman of the Appalachian Regional Commission, and John L. Sweeney, the Federal Cochairman, that the Commission has acted today to recommend approval of almost a thousand miles (992) of Appalachian development highway corridors at an eventual cost of $485 million.

I have been told that the Commission recommended an immediate start on highway construction and planning in each of the 11 Appalachian States totaling $119 million. The Federal share of this will be 70 percent or about $83 million, with the Appalachian States contributing the balance.

Another $35 million of Federal money was recommended to get underway immediate programs for mining area restoration, sewage treatment works, and vocational education facilities.

This early action of the Appalachian Regional Commission in the beginning effort to bring economic development to Appalachia is particularly gratifying to me. This is the first broad action under the provisions of the Appalachian Regional Development Act which the Congress enacted and I signed barely 2 months ago.

The planned development highway system and the network of access roads are needed instruments of economic growth. They will provide access to the heretofore inaccessible areas, communication where there has been none, and hope where there has been despair.

The Appalachian program is one of partnership between the Federal and State governments.

Each of these projects which has been recommended was conceived and developed at the State level. This is creative federalism at its best.

I am pleased at the quick manner in which the Appalachian Regional Commission has moved to discharge its responsibility.

Note: The Appalachian Regional Development Act of 1965 was signed by the President on March 9 (see Item 103).

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