Merrill Hall

A JSU student pedals to class Friday morning past damaged Merrill Hall while another student walks to his class. (Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)

Even small-government adherents who decry federal participation in local affairs must be overjoyed that Washington is helping rebuild Jacksonville State University’s campus. We certainly are.

In fact, the $18.1 million grant JSU is getting from the Federal Emergency Management Agency exemplifies one of the federal government’s vital roles in the three-way marriage between local and state governments and Washington.

Without the assistance of FEMA and the state’s D.C. delegation — Sens. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, and Doug Jones, D-Birmingham, and Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Saks — JSU’s recovery would be longer and more fiscally painful.

With this FEMA grant and money from its insurance provider, JSU will build a new Merrill Hall, home of the school’s School of Business and Industry.

Critics of big government occasionally have valid points. Washington can become bloated and overreach. But when Washington’s assistance is needed, big government’s bank account comes in mighty handy.