U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., today applauded the groundbreaking for the Raleigh Street Extension in Martinsburg. Byrd, who is the senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has been instrumental in obtaining $23 million in federal funding for this critical road project since 2005 when he was initially contacted by Martinsburg Mayor George Karos seeking his assistance for the project.
The Raleigh Street Extension is a 1.2 mile project from the intersection of Raleigh Street and Race Street in the City of Martinsburg to the intersection of US 11 and WV 9 in Berkeley County. Officials indicated to Senator Byrd that the project was vital to the city's transportation management plan and not only alleviate traffic congestion on North Queen Street, but will also provide for future economic development. Byrd then went to work using his perch atop the Senate Appropriations Committee to deliver the needed funding for the project.
Although Byrd was unable to join in the groundbreaking ceremonies, he extended the following remarks to those gathered for this momentous occasion:
"While Senate business prevents me from participating in today's celebration to mark the start of the Raleigh Street Extension project, make no mistake that I am with you as we take another important step to ensure a strong future for Martinsburg and Berkeley County."
"I have witnessed many changes in West Virginia. One factor that has remained constant is the caliber of leadership and vision in the Eastern Panhandle. The good people of this region have never been shy about telling me what their area needs to thrive. And, I have never been shy about responding. Through our combined efforts, the Eastern Panhandle has benefited from a full range of federal initiatives, including new and expanded federal operations; improvements to highways, bridges, airports, and railways; as well as state-of-the-art health care, education, and community development facilities and programs."
"Your good works along with these efforts have brought sustainable growth, jobs, and prosperity to the Eastern Panhandle. However, it is clear that explosive growth has placed Martinsburg at a crossroads. If we are to truly reap the benefits from economic growth, we must endeavor to grow smartly. We must consider that congestion and pollution do not become commonplace as they have in so much of our country. We must work hard to see that the quality of life that defines the Eastern Panhandle remains intact as we continue to grow."
"The Raleigh Street Extension project is a critical part of that solution. Several years ago, officials of Martinsburg and Berkeley County joined to bring this smart growth project to my attention. I have added nearly $23 million for this effort, to date, and I will not stop there. Secretary Mattox recently advised me that an additional $9 million will be required to finish the project. I am pleased to tell you that I have asked the Appropriations Committee to allow the state to finish the Raleigh Street Extension project. If my request is fully funded, then a ribbon-cutting is in our future."
"Winston Churchill once said, "Give us the tools, and we will do the job.' It has been my pleasure to assist Martinsburg and Berkeley County with the tools. I know you will continue to do the job."