Road to Nowhere bill advances

Swain County is one step closer to getting $4 million in “Road to Nowhere” funds after a bill introduced by U.S. Congressman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., advanced through the House Committee on Natural Resources last week. Though the bill, H.R. 3806, is not yet on the House calendar, Meadows’ office expects it to come to a vote sometime this week. 

“The residents of Swain County are still waiting on funds that were allocated by Congress more than two years ago. I hope my colleagues in the House will join me in fulfilling this promise to the people of Swain County by bringing this bill to the floor for a vote,” Meadows said. 

The money is part of a settlement between Swain County and the federal government over a road whose construction was promised as payment to the county for a road that was flooded after construction of Fontana Lake. 

The road was never built, and after years of back-and-forth, the county and the federal government finally reached an agreement in 2010 that the federal government would pay Swain $52 million. The money was to be paid in yearly installments, with the full amount dispensed by 2020. 

The county has received an initial payment, but NPS is still holding the $4 million allocated in 2012. Meadows’ bill, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Agreement Act of 2013, would require the park to release the money. 

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