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The real problem of the Big Springs Community is the powerlessness of the people. The people are isolated, quarantined in a sterile valley of hopelessness, in a county which in 1960 was rated the seventh poorest in the Nation according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The Appalachian Regional Commission is asked for an appropriation of some $30,000 to help pay the cost of this most desperately needed bridge. To me, this is a nominal sum to request when one considers what the results would be.
This project, although it is far from being completed, is evidence enough of what can be accomplished when governmental units at all levels-local, State, and Federal-join to solve a community problem.
But it appears at this time, Mr. Chairman, that the success or failure of this project depends solely on what action is taken by the Appalachian Regional Commission on the funding application.
I would like to humbly ask for the full support of your distinguished subcommittee in the hope that the ultimate decision of the Appalachian Regional Commission will be favorable.
I have every reason to believe that the Commission will approve the application for this project but I am also fully aware that applications of this type can sometimes become bogged down.
The Appalachian program is a good program and I would also like to urge this subcommittee to recommend that it be extended for another 2 years. From my observations in my district, I can only say that the program has succeeded in solving many of the problems we have faced.
Geographically and economically, my district not only revolves around the rural areas but the cities as well—the largest of which are Johnson City, Kingsport, and Bristol. These have become centers of activity of education, commerce, industry, culture, transportation. The State of Tennessee, in developing its Appalachian program plan, recognized this and scheduled the investment of Federal funds in facilities for these three centers to strengthen them, create a better climate for existing industry and make them more attractive to new industry. According to the Appalachian program theory, this is the way to economic growth. The program freely and quickly concedes that the ultimate solution to the Appalachian problem lies in the private sector from which will come the jobs and the economic independence everyone seeks.
But this could not be a program just for the cities. It could not ignore the rural people whose needs and problems are as great, if not greater, as those actually living in the urban centers.
So the first step in the Appalachian plan was a major highway, part of a regional system, by which the people of the First District can travel among their own cities as well as to Asheville, N.C., on the south, and to Kentucky and Ohio on the north. In addition, plans are underway for access roads, which are short feeder routes, providing even freer travel back and forth within and without the area. Thus the people can commute to work or to market, nearby or over greater distances wherever their needs and wants carry them.
I hope I have been able to demonstrate in some small way that the whole of this program is at least as great as the sum of its parts. And if
the First District of Tennessee is any evidence at all, the whole is very great indeed.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for allowing me to testify on this matter, and it is my deep hope that the Appalachian program will be continued.
STATEMENT OF HON. EDWARD R. ROYBAL, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Mr. ROYBAL. Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to express my support of the amendment to the Public Works Acceleration Act which would make the full benefits of this Act available to workers in areas of very high unemployment. As a cosponsor of the bill, I believe this committee should take immediate action in assuring that those laborers in severe economically depressed trades will be assured of productive employment in the public sector when the private economy fails to employ their talents. With over 40 major labor market areas now experiencing substantial unemployment, compared to only six a year ago, passage of this bill is essential in order that local communities be permitted to employ these workers in projects of benefit to the local area which have not been undertaken due to lack of funds.
By providing 80-percent grants-in-aid to assist these communities initiate such badly needed public improvements as sewer plants, municipal buildings, and recreation areas, the Federal Government will also be relieving the increasing burden on the local tax rate. It is important to note, however, that this program will be of limited duration and is not intended as a long-range cure for the alarmingly high unemployment rate. Rather, the legislation is intended to stimulate local communities to make permanent improvements in their public facilities and to foment the development of local industries by making these areas more attractive places for people to live and work.
I urge the members of this subcommittee to support this innovative approach to ameliorating the effects of our current economic crisis, and recognize that the time has come to seek new remedies for the chronic illness of high unemployment plaguing our economy.
STATEMENT OF HON. JOE SKUBITZ, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF KANSAS
Mr. SKUBITZ. Mr. Chairman, I want to take this opportunity to record my support of the Randolph-McFall bill to provide Federal assistance for public works projects in areas of substantial unemployment. I want to commend my colleague, John McFall, for his initiative and ingenuity in promoting this legislation, which is designed to alleviate our serious unemployment problem while at the same time stimulating the construction of much-needed public facilities. I also commend the chairman of this committee for taking prompt action to insure its early consideration by the House.
Unemployment is a major concern today, as it was in 1962 when the original Public Works Acceleration Act was passed. It was successful in reducing the unemployment rate during the Kennedy administration, and there is no doubt that it would be equally successful today when the problem is similar and the need is as great, or greater.
The funds provided in this legislation would go directly to local communities that suffer higher than average unemployment, to be used for public works projects that are in the planning stage and can be launched immediately. Thus, economically distressed areas would be enabled to undertake such projects as improved water and sewer facilities or public building construction for which they are now unable to provide financing from their depleted tax revenues. The principle of providing assistance to areas where the need is greatest is a sound one, which I heartily endorse.
STATEMENT OF HON. FRANK ANNUNZIO, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ILLINOIS
Mr. ANNUNZIO. It is an honor and a pleasure to appear today before the House Public Works Committee. I am here to voice
wholehearted support for H.R. 106 which will amend the 1962 Accelerated Public Works Act to make the benefits of this legislation available to areas currently suffering high rates of unemployment.
I am delighted to be cosponsoring this legislation with the distinguished committee chairman, Mr. Blatnik, as well as other House Members. The passage of the 1962 legislation depended to a large degree on the unswerving support given by Chairman Blatnik. He was aware then, and is aware today, of the great economic boost public works employment can give to communities suffering high levels of unemployment.
The purpose of H.R. 106 is to reactivate Public Law 87-658, the 1962 Accelerated Public Works Act. The 1962 legislation was designed to provide jobs and income in areas of substantial and persistent unemployment through the construction of public works. The funds appropriated for Public Law 87-658 were used to build roads, bridges, hospitals, schools, and water and sewer projects.
According to the 1965 annual report of the Economic Development Administration, which for a time administered the accelerated public works program, the legislation at that time had helped start 7,711 projects and had created 200,000 man-years of direct and indirect employment. These jobs and projects had cost the Federal Government $842.6 million, and State and local sources $1.7 billion.
The Accelerated Public Works Act was passed in order to deal with a recession which was causing a great deal of unemployment, throwing people out of jobs throughout the country. Today, the United States is again in a recession. Recently released Labor Department figures showed unemployment at 5.8 percent in January, down from 6 percent in December. The number of unemployed people in the Nation was 5,414,000. In Illinois it was 206,000 in December 1970, and for the Metropolitan Chicago area, where my own Seventh Congressional District is located, during this same period the unemployment rate was 119,000. This is a lot of people. It does the man out of a job little good to know that the rate of unemployment is going down, or that
experts predict an upturn in the economy this year. He needs a job
I feel that H.R. 106 will help those out of work by giving them useful employment now. Hopefully, when a man's work on a public works project, which would be financed under H.R. 106, is ended, the experts' predictions will have come true and the economy will be back on the track and this man will be able to get another, more permanent job.
The construction of public works as a means to relieve unemployment, in my opinion, has many strong points. First and foremost, it provides jobs to the carpenter, bulldozer operator, laborer, and engineer who need work. It provides additional jobs by pumping money into the local economy. The man working on the public works project needs clothes, food, and shelter. In order to provide these necessities new jobs will be created. Cement, bricks, and steel have to be made for the project, and delivered to the construction site; this creates more jobs.
In addition to employment, public works construction provides the community with needed public facilities. A new school or hospital will give service for years. It will help make the local community a better place to live and work. A man and his family may not have benefited directly by being employed to build the school or hospital, but his children who are educated in the school and loved ones who benefit from improved medical care will receive many noneconomic benefits.
I feel that H.R. 106 will amend the Accelerated Public Works Act so that it will be able to help meet the severe unemployment problems facing many cities and towns throughout the Nation. It makes Public Law 87-658 able to meet today's economic conditions.
The $950 million authorized under H.R. 106 would provide many thousands of jobs, and would help construct many needed roads, sewers, schools, hospitals, and other public works in communities across the Nation. I, therefore, wholeheartedly urge your support of H.R. 106.
STATEMENT OF HON. E. (KIKA) DE LA GARZA, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS
Mr. DE LA GARZA. Mr. Chairman, I am a cosponsor of the accelerated public works bill now being considered by your committee, and I wish respectfully to urge favorable consideration of this measure.
Some areas of my own district—the 15th Congressional District of Texas—are suffering from substantial and persistent unemployment. There are people in these communities who badly need jobs. This bill would provide jobs for them and at the same time would result in the building of essential community facilities.
The bill sets no precedent, of course. Similar legislation has proved of immediate and considerable assistance in the past. It can help the people of our country again at this time by providing Federal grants for an immediate attack on unemployment in the areas where it is heaviest.
This legislation is needed now.
STATEMENT OF HON. THOMAS FOLEY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF WASHINGTON Mr. FOLEY. Mr. Chairman, I want to express my full support for the proposed amendment to the Public Works Acceleration Act. Many areas throughout the country have been designated as having exceptionally high unemployment rates exceeding the national average by 150 percent.
The first Public Works Acceleration Act that was passed in the 87th Congress provided a way to encourage immediate employment and prevent recession in 1960–61. Today, further steps are needed to improve public facilities and assist local industrial development. Moreover, this will be a major step toward lowering the increasing unemployment rates, and will allow us to face the needs following the economic decline in 1970.
This bill is a supplement program and is not intended to be a substitution for other Federal assistance under other laws. The new provisions will allow Federal assistance up to 80 percent of the total amount required for a project. Also, by eliminating the section of the bill that prohibits any one State from receiving more than 10 percent of the money, States with greater needs will be able to receive more assistance.
One of the principal concerns of the people in Washington State is to decrease the high unemployment rates, and at the same time to make local improvemments that would affect the entire population of their counties.
Four of the eight counties in my district fall into the "high unemployment” category. These are primarily small rural areas with small economic bases. Each is in dire need of financial assistance to complete and improve such projects as sewers, roads, recreational parks, and airports.
The Okanagan County commissioners reported that a sewage updating project has been needed for 25 years, yet without Federal assistance this will be impossible. In fact, conservationists have been complaining about the present system for years, but the county is unable to provide adequate funds to complete such a project.
Roads are also needed in all these counties to facilitate development of business and recreational areas.
The airport in Pend Oreille County, for instance, is only capable of handling traffic in fair-weather conditions. Thus, by improving the conditions more jobs would be available on a year-round basis.
Unemployment is an even greater problem in the summer, because young people are also searching for jobs. The Douglas County commissioners said that a new swimming pool deserves first priority in this area. The pool would serve 65 percent of the population and would be within walking distance of 80 percent of the minority population.
Other necessary projects include timber stand improvements in the Colville and Spokane Indian Reservations, bridges in Ferry County and court house improvements in most counties.
Mr. Chairman, I am one of 150 cosponsors of this bill and I have always strongly supported such programs. I am keenly aware of the accomplishments of a similar program in the 1960's, and I sponsored legislation of this nature in the 91st Congress. I urge the committee to support this amendment to the Public Works Acceleration Act because