SCHOOLS, COUNTIES SUFFER WHILE CONGRESS FAILS TO ACT -- (House of Representatives - January 24, 2007)
Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Mr. Speaker, the failure of Congress to reauthorize and fund the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act amounts to a breach of faith to more than 600 forested counties across America.
For rural Lake County, Oregon, no stranger to economic challenges, this means 93 percent of the county's road budget has vanished. With 709 miles of road to maintain during rugged winters, basic maintenance and sure passage for school buses and emergency vehicles will be crippled.
County Commissioner Brad Winters says, ``Without these dollars, the destruction of our roads through lack of repair will be inevitable and we will be back to dirt.'
Failure to reauthorize delivers a blow to our schools, too. School District Superintendent Judy Graham put it this way: ``Our past challenges have made it difficult to offer even limited services. Losing county payments funding will devastate the environment our children rely upon to learn and grow.'
My colleagues, Congress must pass H.R. 17 and keep the Federal Government's promise to timbered communities. Time is running out.