July 19, 2011

Manchin, Rockefeller Push for Full Funding of Appalachian Development Highway System

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin (both D-WV) today announced that they have introduced bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS), which helps focus investments in rural parts of West Virginia and other states.

The bill creates jobs and economic development opportunities for underserved areas of Appalachia and includes the support of Republican Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama. 

“The people of Appalachia deserve to have this road system complete and to know that there is dedicated funding for the Appalachian region,” said Rockefeller. “Congress promised the creation of this highway system in 1965, and it still is not complete.  We must keep working to get this system across the finish line. This is a critical road system for West Virginia and other states in the region that will spur job development, open up market access, reduce transit times, and most importantly, improve safety.”  

“I believe it is so important to build the infrastructure that will help us build America’s future,” Senator Manchin said. “Not only do construction projects like these create jobs in the short-term, they also lay the foundation for economic development and commercial expansion. This highway system will benefit the residents of the region, as well as those who do business in the region, and I am eager to see it completed.” 

The completion of Corridor G in the southern part of the state has become a critical link between Pikeville, KY and Charleston, much like Corridor D has in the northern part of the state between Bridgeport and Cincinnati, OH.  Today, West Virginia has one more ADHS project left to complete, Corridor H.  This four lane highway between Weston and the Virginia state line has approximately 58 miles left to construct until it will be finished.  Completion of the ADHS would provide additional economic opportunities, safer modes of travel, and ease the strain on the current transportation infrastructure, including many overburdened interstate highways throughout the Appalachian region.


In 1965, Congress authorized the Appalachian Regional Commission, with assistance from the Secretary of Transportation, to construct the Appalachian Development Highway System, a 3,090-mile road system designed to supplement the Interstate System and other federal-aid highways programs.  

In West Virginia, the only portion of the ADHS that remains incomplete is Corridor H. Currently, 81 miles of the 140-mile road are complete.  Construction is underway on 16.5 miles, with the remainder of the corridor in study, design, or right-of-way stages. 

Senator Byrd introduced similar legislation in the 111th Congress.