U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (W.Va.) is working for more federal transportation and infrastructure dollars for West Virginia to spur job growth. A major funding measure passed the House yesterday, which will provide public works construction dollars through extending current programs and increasing funding levels.
"Every time America lets the dirt fly, jobs soar," said Rahall, who serves as Vice Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. "This will be a major investment that West Virginia can put to work immediately. Highway projects like the King Coal Highway, the Coalfields Expressway, Route 10, the Shawnee Parkway and New River Parkway could benefit from these federal dollars. Every investment in these corridors will pay dividends in opening new areas to increased safety, commerce and economic development."
Under H.R. 2847, "Jobs for Main Street Act, 2010," West Virginia is slated to receive $210,306,274 for highways and bridges; $17,913,341 for transit; and, $15,273,027 for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund -- West Virginia received similar amounts in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act earlier this year.
The bill also would extend the current transportation programs through September 30, 2010, providing West Virginia with hundreds of millions of dollars for highways, bridges and public transit programs. State funded match requirements would be waived. This would allow the State to carry out important capital and operational programs and projects pending enactment of a multi-year measure authorizing future transportation programs.
"This is a bold move," said Rahall. "There is no one silver bullet, one plan, or piece of legislation that alone will solve double digit unemployment, but this bill can get thousands of workers back on the job."
As a result of Recovery Act funding, there were 7,900 highway and transit projects that broke ground nationwide and 210,000 direct and indirect jobs were created. In West Virginia, work has begun on 186 projects, creating 1,674 jobs as a result of the stimulus bill. In a report recently issued by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, West Virginia ranked ninth in the nation in spending stimulus funds with 92-percent of its highways and bridges projects out to bid, and 78-percent of projects underway.
Rahall reports that the new Jobs for Main Street Act will invest $75-billion nationwide to create or retain jobs, of which $43.8 billion will be dedicated to infrastructure development, including $27.5 billion for highways; $8.4 billion for transit; and, $800 million to Amtrak for fleet modernization.
The Act passed the House by a vote of 217 to 212 yesterday. The measure must now be considered by the Senate.