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THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Vice President


For Immediate Release April 26, 2000
                VICE PRESIDENT GORE ANNOUNCES KICK-OFF OF 
                SOUTHWEST BORDER TASK FORCE PILOT PROGRAM

Washington, DC--Vice President Gore announced today the launch of the Southwest Border Task Force pilot program designed to revitalize communities along the southwest border. The Task Force will begin the selection of communities from each of the four border states to serve as demonstration projects for the Task Force's comprehensive approach to economic development, involving close coordination at the federal, state, and local level.

The Southwest Border region, stretching from the Gulf of Mexico in Texas, across New Mexico and Arizona, and continuing through California to the Pacific Ocean, remains severely distressed, despite the tremendous new opportunities brought about by the recent strength of the nation's economy.

The Interagency Task Force on the Economic Development of the Southwest Border, formed last May by the President's Executive Order 13122, is designed to coordinate and better leverage existing Administration efforts aimed at the economic development of the Southwest Border, in concert with locally led efforts. Its mission is to search for, analyze, coordinate and present workable solutions and policy options for improving the standard of living and overall economic conditions of the border region.

The Task Force is comprised of the President's entire Cabinet, as well as other key federal agencies, and reports to the Vice President in his role as head of the Community Empowerment Board. In October, the Vice President announced that Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers would be the first chairperson of the Task Force. The first Annual Report of the Task Force, to be released next month, will include recommendations for specific actions and development of a policy plan.

Communities and community-based organizations within 150 miles of the southwest border are eligible to apply for selection to the pilot program until May 15, 2000. Applications for the pilot program and additional information on the Task Force can be found on the Treasury Department web site at http://www.ustreas.gov/sw_border/.

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