Region’s Senators Back Bill to Help Economic Development Commission

Associated Press
Friday, March 09, 2018

Lawmakers in New England and New York want to expand a commission that helps with economic development in the region after President Donald Trump’s administration proposed eliminating funding.

The legislation introduced on Thursday extends the authorization of the commission for five years; expands it to include two more New Hampshire counties; allows the commission to attract business from outside the United States; and offers funding to encourage development of renewable energy projects.

New Hampshire Democratic Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan joined Democratic, Republican and independent lawmakers in Vermont, Maine and New York in sponsoring the bill.

The Northern Border Regional Commission has provided more than $30 million in funding since it was created a decade ago and provided 155 grants in New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and upstate New York.

The projects — ranging from a new canoe trail in Maine to a riverfront revitalization project in New Hampshire to the installation of fiber optic cables in rural Vermont — have been credited with creating hundreds of jobs, bolstering tourism and keeping businesses in economically depressed rural areas open.