CONGRESSIONAL INACTION JEOPARDIZES WALLOWA COUNTY ROADS, RESCUE SERVICES AND PILT -- (House of Representatives - February 07, 2007)
Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Mr. Speaker, the failure of Congress to reauthorize the Secure Rural Schools and Communities Self-Determination Act amounts to another breach of faith to more than 600 forested counties and 4,400 school districts across our great country.
For Wallowa County, Oregon, this means the road department and the sheriff search and rescue budgets will be slashed in half. There are more than 700 miles of roads in Wallowa County maintained by a current staff of 14. Soon only seven will try and keep up with this responsibility; that is one person for every 100 miles of road in Wallowa County. That is the same distance as between Washington, DC, and Richmond, Virginia. County Commissioner Mike Hayward says, ``Impact to our roads and rescue services will put our citizens and visitors at risk.''
Loss of the county payments program will also have a significant negative impact on more than 18 county governments across America whose Payment in Lieu of Taxes funds could be reduced by as much as 20 percent.
This Congress must keep the Federal Government's word to the people who live in timbered communities and pass H.R. 17. Time is running out for them.