Manchin Announces $40 Million in Transportation Grants for West Virginia
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced $40 million in grants to West Virginia through the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Grant Program – the first such grants to West Virginia since 2014.
“Investing in American infrastructure is one of the most important steps we can take to put people back to work and get our economy moving again,” Senator Manchin said. “I have personally discussed the need for BUILD Grant infrastructure funding with Secretary Chao and stressed to her the vital need to West Virginia. I was very disturbed by the lack of funding within this program for Appalachia last year. I continue to believe that the construction of transportation infrastructure can spur economic development in our state, which is why I have worked with the Department of Transportation to encourage them to make changes to this critical program, and I am happy to see that West Virginia is reaping those benefits today. I will continue to push for increased funding to complete Corridor H and the Appalachian Highway Development System.”
This funding will provide $20 million each through the WV Department of Highways to two projects in the state that will help connect Corridor H to Parsons in Tucker County and build the US-522 bypass around Berkeley Springs in Morgan County. As a member of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Manchin has long advocated for BUILD Grants, which were known as Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants prior to this year. He also personally supported these projects through letters to the Department of Transportation and calls directly to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to stress the importance of these projects on economic development in the state.
BUILD grants are awarded on a competitive basis, under the FY2018 Appropriations Act, for projects that will have a significant impact on the nation, a metropolitan area, or a region. These infrastructure improvements are essential to economic revitalization in rural communities.
U.S. 522 Berkeley Springs Bypass
The completion of the U.S. 522 Berkeley Springs Bypass project will provide direct economic benefit to both Morgan County and the town of Bath, as well as improve access to medical services and increase emergency services response times. This project will construct a bypass around Berkeley Springs and includes the construction of the Fairview Connector. The bypass is approximately 4 miles long and will be a 4-lane divided highway with controlled access and a grass median.
The completion of this section of Corridor H between Kerens and Parsons will provide residents of West Virginia and visitors to the state easier access and safer roads by linking east central West Virginia to Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and points North and South along I-81. Completing Corridor H, a part of the Appalachian Development Highway System, has long been one of Senator Manchin’s highest priorities. He completed more than half of the highway as Governor, and has continued to advocate for completing Corridor H as a Senator. Corridor H has already had a significant impact by increasing economic vitality and investment in towns like Elkins and Moorefield along the highway. The Appalachian Regional Commission has found that while much of east-central West Virginia has well-regarded schools, workforce, and natural resources, the main issue holding the region back is accessibility, and the completion of Corridor H would help solve that problem. BUILD Grant funds will help construct approximately 10 miles of a 4-lane expressway as part of Corridor H. The project includes paving, constructing traffic control devices and markings, and new guardrails.
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