Rep. Meadows’ Statement on Swain County Funds Included in President’s Budget
Washington, D.C. - On February 12, 2018, the Trump Administration released the president’s budget request, which calls on Congress to fund the overdue remaining balance of $39.2 million owed to Swain County, NC, from the settlement agreement with the Federal government. This is a major step forward for the residents of Swain County.
During the 1930’s and 1940’s, Swain County, NC, relinquished part of its public land to the federal government in order to assist with building projects that were part of World War II. The Fontana Lake reservoir replaced a road called ‘Highway 288’—the only accessible road to an old community that generations of Swain County residents called home. As part of the exchange, the federal government promised to build Swain County a new road that would replace Highway 288 and provide a route to those communities. Now, decades later, the promised “road” has never been completed--and is now known amongst the community as the “Road to Nowhere.”
In February 2010, the Secretary of the Interior signed an agreement to provide a settlement of $52.0 million to Swain County, NC, in lieu of constructing the North Shore Road. As of September 2017, the National Park Service has paid $16.8 million, after Interior Secretary Zinke authorized $4 million to Swain County. Secretary Zinke brought the unpaid amount down to $39.2 million. The President’s budget requests $20.0 million for Fiscal Year 2019 and the remaining $15.2 million for Fiscal Year 2020.
Rep. Mark Meadows released the following statement:
Once again, President Trump’s administration has showed an unparalleled commitment to keeping promises –fighting for the forgotten man—and righting the wrongs of past administrations. I want to thank the President and Secretary Zinke for their unparalleled willingness to resolve this issue, and my hope is that Congress can now officially authorize these funds and bring a swift end to a problem that should have been resolved years ago.”
“Since I arrived in Congress in 2013, my office has been working with the Department of Interior to see to it that the residents of Swain County receive the money they should have been paid long ago. Fortunately, President Trump’s administration has shown a tremendous willingness to make this situation right. Just six months ago, Secretary Zinke announced the release of $4 million toward the unpaid settlement—a major step forward. Now, President Trump’s budget proposes delivery of the remaining $20 million in FY 2019 and $15.2 million in FY 2020—a timeline to complete the unpaid funds due to Swain County.