WASHINGTON, D.C. (WOAY) – U.S. Representative Evan Jenkins has secured funding for West Virginia’s highways, Amtrak and rural airports in the Transportation appropriations bill passed by the House Appropriations Committee late Wednesday.
The bill also includes language encouraging the Federal Highway Administration to work with states to complete important transportation projects in Appalachia, including the Coalfields Expressway:
“The committee encourages FHWA to work with relevant state departments of transportation in Appalachia to ensure that construction and repair projects are prioritized for roads of critical commercial importance in the (Appalachian Development Highway System). ADHS funding in central Appalachia supports high priority transportation assets like the Coalfields Expressway that are especially critical because they open up portions of multiple ADHS states,” the bill report states.
The Fiscal Year 2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriation bill also fully funds the FAST Act, the five-year highway bill, and includes many other West Virginia priorities:
$46 billion from the Highway Trust Fund to be spent on federal highways, which is $1 billion above the fiscal year 2018 level.
$1.9 billion for Amtrak, including $1.3 billion for the national network, including the Cardinal line.
$350 million to help communities modernize their bus systems.
$250 million in grants to help rural and urban areas invest in transit.
$175 million for Essential Air Service to rural airports, a $20 million increase over the previous year.
$3.3 billion for the Community Development Block Grants program, which makes important investments across West Virginia.
“This funding will invest in West Virginia’s roads, bridges, rails and airports, helping us create jobs and connect rural communities and cities. I am very pleased the committee is recognizing the importance of building highways in Appalachia and cites the Coalfields Expressway as a project to be prioritized – I completely agree. Investing in West Virginia’s roads invests in West Virginia’s future, and I am proud to fight for West Virginia’s priorities on the House Appropriations Committee,” Rep. Jenkins said.