September 19, 2019

Manchin Includes Funding For Key West Virginia Priorities In Spending Bills

Washington, D.C. U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, included significant funding for West Virginia in the fiscal year (FY) 2020 Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (THUD); Agriculture, Rural Development, and FDA; and Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations bills which were reported out of committee today.

“I am pleased that the committee has approved appropriations bills which provide West Virginia funding for some of the state’s top priorities: Corridor H, rural broadband, combatting the opioid crisis and addressing youth homelessness. As we continue our work in the Appropriations Committee I will fight for West Virginia in the final budget for 2020 and for a responsible budget that puts West Virginia first,” said Senator Manchin.

Read West Virginia Highlights in FY20 THUD, Agriculture and FSGG Appropriations Bills below: 

Transportation and Housing and Urban Development Bill:

  • Corridor H: For the first time since 2012, Senator Manchin secured dedicated funding for the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS), including an estimated $13.2 million for Corridor H.
  • Youth Homelessness: $2 billion for programs such as the Rural Housing Stability Assistance Program to support fighting homelessness, as well as $80 million specifically for combatting youth homelessness. The bill also directed HUD to incorporate more federal data on youth homelessness into its annual assessment report and implementation of continuum of care programs.
  • Ticket Agents: Directs Amtrak to re-staff stations with ticket agents from which agents were removed last year, including the station in Charleston – restoring the last ticket agent in West Virginia.
  • Opioids: $25 million for opioid and recovery housing assistance through programs authorized by the SUPPORT Act.
  • King Coal & Coalfields Expressway: Secured language directing the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to consider the expansion of ADHS to include roads like King Coal Highway and Coalfields Expressway.
  • Funding for WV Bridges: WV is estimated to receive a total of $81.2 million to repair bridges across the state (the 3rd highest allocation after Texas and California). 19% of WV bridges were deemed structurally deficient in a recent report – the 2nd highest total in the U.S.
  • Recreational Trails Program: Directs FHWA to determine the total amount of non-highway recreational fuel taxes paid during the last 3 fiscal years. Funding from this program helps build recreational bike and ATV trails – like the Hatfield-McCoy trail system – in West Virginia.
  • NeighborWorks: $152 million for NeighborWorks, a nonprofit organization that supports community development and affordable housing around the country, including West Virginia.

Agriculture, Rural Development, and FDA Bill:

  • Rural Broadband: Secured language urging the USDA Secretary to prioritize funding within the ReConnect and Community Connect rural broadband deployment programs for areas like West Virginia with mountainous terrain, as well as an amendment that directs USDA to make the ReConnect grant application process easier and more assistance for applicants.
  • Opioids: $94 million for FDA to continue its activities related to combatting the opioid crisis, an increase of $8 million over enacted FY19 budget.
  • Appalachian Honeybees: $1.5 million for the creation of a Pollinator Recovery, Education & Research Center in Central Appalachia. This center’s research will focus on the decline of pollinator populations to ensure the sustainability of our nation’s food production systems while creating jobs and economic revitalization in former coal mining towns.
  • Small Orchard Production: $1 million for the development of low-cost technology and innovative production strategies for small farm fruit growers through the Appalachian Fruit Research Station in Kearneysville.
  • Precision Aquaculture: $1 million for the National Center for Cool and Cold Water Aquaculture located in Leetown to study sustainable domestic aquaculture production.
  • Chronic Wasting Disease: $9 million through the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service for continued research. $5 million will be distributed to states meeting the criteria for continued study.
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service: $835 million to continue watershed conservation efforts in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, which includes much of the eastern portion of West Virginia.
  • SNAP: Language directing the Secretary to include the impact of changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program on children, seniors, individuals with disabilities, and rural and poor communities.

Financial Services and General Government Bill:

  • Opioids: $280 million for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program and $100 million for the Drug Free Communities program to combat heroin and prescription opioid abuse around the country.
  • Rural Broadband: Directs the FCC to follow through on its commitment to include a terrain factor within Mobility Fund Phase II, a $4.53 billion fund intended for the deployment of mobile wireless service, assisting rural areas with mountainous terrain that face much higher buildout costs, and encourages the FCC to help states, local governments, and regional planning organizations participate in the broadband mapping process.
  • National Radio Quiet Zone: Encourages the FCC to coordinate with federal partners on increasing broadband deployment and residential Internet in the region without interfering with the work of the Green Bank Radio Telescope and others.
  • Bureau of Fiscal Service: $340.33 million for the Bureau of Fiscal Service, located in Parkersburg, which supports other federal government activities through accounting, financing, collections, payments and shared services.
  • CFIUS: $20 million for the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) Fund to modernize CFIUS’s review process to analyze more transactions involving foreign investments in American businesses and technology for national security risks. This fund was established by the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018 and did not receive funding in the FY 2019.
  • CDFI: $251 million for the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) fund. CDFIs like the Natural Capital Investment Fund in Shepherdstown and Woodlands Community Lenders in Elkins help provide low-interest loans to small businesses around the state that would otherwise have difficulty obtaining a loan.
  • VITA: $25 million for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which helps low – and moderate – income individuals with tax return preparation.