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Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House Requesting Increased Borrowing Authority for TVA.

May 20, 1966

Dear Mr. President: (Dear Mr. Speaker:)

I am pleased to transmit to the Congress proposed legislation to amend the Tennessee Valley Authority Act by raising to $1,750 million the ceiling on TVA's authority to issue revenue bonds.

Thirty-three years ago the Congress created the Tennessee Valley Authority. The success of this venture is a tribute to the vision of those in both political parties who worked to make a reality of this experiment in regional cooperation.

Today large industrial firms nourish the economy of this once poor region, encouraged by plentiful transportation and low-cost electric power.

Today green pastures and leafy woodlands have replaced the desolate brown craters of eroded acres.

Today almost every farm in the Tennessee Valley has electric power, while only three out of every hundred were served in 1933.

Today the per capita income of this region is 69 percent of the national average, compared to 45 percent at the time of TVA's creation.

Congress has shown its wisdom in allowing TVA flexibility to do its job well. In 1959, the Congress gave TVA authority to issue revenue bonds--up to $750 million-to finance capital improvements in its power program. Congress also acted wisely by placing a specific limitation on the borrowing authority so it could periodically review the TVA power operations to determine future needs.

TVA has used its authority well. Funds are no longer appropriated to TVA to finance power operations. On the contrary, TVA is paying back the original U.S. investment in power facilities, with interest, and is making payments to State and local governments in lieu of taxes.

The power demands in the Tennessee Valley should about double in the next ten years, which is consistent with the rate of growth for private utilities. TVA must have the authority to issue bonds to finance its operations, just as other utilities do to meet future demands.

TVA will need new borrowing authority before the end of fiscal year 1967. I recommend, therefore, an increase of $1 billion-from $750 million to $1,750 million--which should provide borrowing authority for at least seven more years.

Without an increase in borrowing authority, TVA cannot continue to carry out its responsibility to meet the growing demand for electric power in the Tennessee Valley. This is essential to the well being of the people and the economy of this region. For this reason, I respectfully urge the Congress to give early and favorable consideration to this proposed legislation.



Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to the Honorable Hubert H. Humphrey, President of the Senate, and to the Honorable John W. McCormack, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The proposed amendment to the Tennessee Valley Authority Act was approved by the President on August 12. For his remarks at the signing ceremony, see Item 382.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House Requesting Increased Borrowing Authority for TVA. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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