Leahy, Shaheen And Other Senators Introduce Northern Border Regional Commission Extension

. . . Leahy Provisions Would Boost Economic Development Opportunities For Counties Throughout Vermont

Senator Patrick Leahy and a majority of other senators from the New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and New York U.S. Senate delegations Thursday introduced legislation to reauthorize and strengthen the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC).  The NBRC, a federal-state partnership for economic and community development in northern Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York, has awarded $7.8 million in funding for 44 community development projects since its creation in 2008. 

The new legislation introduced by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and cosponsored by Leahy and others, including Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), will form the basis of the Senate Agriculture Committee’s work in extending the program as part of the upcoming 2018 Farm Bill deliberations.

As a leading member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Leahy played a key role in creating the Commission in the 2008 Farm Bill and since then has led efforts to increase funding for the Commission though his role as Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee.  One of the key provisions Leahy included in this new reauthorization would boost the number of Vermont communities eligible for these investments by making all of Vermont’s counties part of the NBRC territory. 

Leahy said:  “When we created the Commission, we wanted a program that was flexible and responsive to the rural nature of Northern Border communities.  By increasing the number of Vermont communities eligible for these investments, our state will see the completion of more projects that address critical infrastructure, expand broadband access and enhance the economic vitality of our region.” 

In past grant rounds the NBRC has funded a wide variety of projects, such as work on the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, green energy upgrades for the Fairbanks Museum, small business lending programs at Northern Community Industrial Corporation, fiber optic broadband deployment in Craftsbury, and business development work in Hardwick.

In anticipation of Congress completing work on the Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations bills and setting a final level of annual funding for the NBRC, the Commission has made the current year application available at www.nbrc.gov.  Eligibility for this round of funding is limited to those counties currently included in the NBRC territory.  Interested applicants are encouraged to submit letters of intent by Friday, March 30, and applications are due Friday, May 11. 

Press Contact

David Carle: 202-224-3693