July 14, 1998
STATEMENT OF SENATOR JOSEPH LIEBERMAN
THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
HEARING ON THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ADMINISTRATION

I would like to thank Senators Warner and Baucus for allowing me to speak for a few minutes this morning. I'm an enthusiastic supporter of EDA and its work. Phil Singerman and I were in Connecticut just two weeks ago at Veeder Root Place in Hartford where, with the help of EDA grants, an old factory in a run down neighborhood is being revitalized.

Connecticut has the highest per capita income in the country, but has two of the poorest cities in America. We all have face problems with urban decay in our States. Manufacturing and industry, which used to be the centerpiece of economic activity and employment in our inner cities, have largely disappeared. Hartford has seen 30% of its factory and business sites disappear since 1986. With the loss of manufacturing went good jobs, wholesale trade, retail businesses and a large source of local tax revenues.

We all know of one-factory towns where the factory has closed down, destroying the economic base of the town. When Windham Mills--mills built over 100 years ago that produce thread--closed down in Windham, Connecticut, no other industry moved in, leaving Windham with the highest unemployment rate in the State and forcing workers to look for jobs in other locales. EDA is working with the town on a $1 million grant to help revitalize the area.

EDA is the only agency of the Federal Government that is charged with stimulating industrial and commercial growth in economically-distressed areas of the United States. I have really appreciated their work in Connecticut. But most of all, I appreciate that they work with the community. They work with the community to help them develop a plan that will bring back business activity, and with it, good jobs for people in the community. They work with the local government to fill out those endless applications. They help guide them through the process--something at which the Federal Government does not always excel. With the 7E proposed legislation, EDA is making the application process even easier by making eligibility: uniform for all programs and allowing for self-certification by applicants.

I wanted to commend Phil Singerman and the rest of the EDA staff for the job they are doing. I think its time we passed reauthorization for EDA. Thank you.