(BEXLEY, Ohio) – In a ceremony in the Appalachian Garden of the Ohio Governor’s Residence and Heritage Garden this afternoon, Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 377 which is making a historic $500 million investment to transform Appalachian communities in 32 Ohio counties.
“As I said in my State of the State address, it’s Appalachia time,” Governor DeWine said. “With this investment, we will ensure a better future for this region.”
Funding in the bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Thomas Hall (R-Madison Township) and Rep. DJ Swearingen (R-Huron), will go to Governor DeWine. “OhioBuilds – Small Communities, Big Impact – A Blueprint for Appalachia.” Governor DeWine proposed the plan in April Contribute to uniting Appalachian communities around structuring local projects with three priorities:
- Infrastructure, including downtown development
- Health care, such as investments in school or community services to ensure physical and behavioral health
- Workforce development, including public-private partnerships to build and coordinate skills training
VIDEO: Governor DeWine signs bill to invest $500 million in Appalachia
The $500 million investment in Appalachia allocated under House Bill 377 comes on top of more than $645 million in DeWine-Husted administration investments since 2019 and more than doubles the budget this year’s Appalachian Regional Commission total covering 13 states.
“We have taken a big step forward for Appalachia,” Governor DeWine added. “Our investments in this region to date have included water infrastructure, broadband, and other efforts to help put these counties on a level playing field. And now, with the help of the ‘Ohio General Assembly, we will do more.’
“We’ve entered an era where people can live in one place and work in another,” Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted said. “This investment opens the door to economic opportunity in Southeast Ohio, allowing people to enjoy the affordable, high-quality lifestyle that Appalachia offers, regardless of where they work. With this investment, we are delivering on our promise to secure a brighter future for families living in this region by supporting communities as they transform their downtowns, foster workforce development and increase care options. health.
“OhioBuilds – Small Communities, Big Impact – A Plan for Appalachia” includes a $50 million planning phase to enable Appalachia communities and regional partnerships to develop transformational plans that incorporate each of the above three priorities. As a result of the planning, $450 million in implementation grants will be awarded to help communities and regional groups carry out projects that rejuvenate the region and stimulate economic growth.
“This historic investment has the potential for lasting change in our Appalachian communities,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Department of Development. “We are grateful to Governor DeWine, Lt. Governor Husted, and the state legislature for prioritizing this region and committing the funding to make a real impact.”
The grant process will be administered by the Office of the Governor of Appalachia within the Ohio Department of Development. Funding will be available through multiple rounds of planning and development applications until all funds have been awarded. For program status updates, subscribe to email updates from the Governor’s Office of Appalachia.