Manchin sends W. Va. priorities to highway bill negotiators

Staff Report

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As House and Senate negotiators go to conference to work out a long-term transportation bill, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is urging the committee to include provisions in the final bill that are important for West Virginia.

“West Virginia has 38,000 miles of public roads, many of which are in poor condition and in need of repair,” Senator Manchin said. “We are in serious need of a federal, long-term funding bill that goes beyond the status quo to address our state’s and nation’s infrastructure needs. Projects like the King Coal Highway, Coalfields Expressway and Corridor H have been put on hold for too long. The time is now to truly invest in these projects and others that will improve our infrastructure, create jobs, boost economic development and improve conditions in our local communities. My hope is that the conference committee will take these requests into serious consideration as they hash out a final bill.”

In a letter to the House and Senate conferees, Senator Manchin is requesting that the following be included in the final highway bill:

•Higher funding for critical West Virginia highway projects, such as King Coal Highway, Coalfields Expressway and Corridor H – Senator Manchin says that as currently written, the proposed House investment levels would fail to keep pace with projected inflation and would fail to get these roads built.

•$60 million to the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) over the next six years to support regional projects and activities – Senator Manchin says that we must close the digital divide to give our businesses and families an opportunity to compete in the global marketplace.

•Rail safety provisions that require Electronically-Controlled Pneumatic (ECP) brakes on all train tank cars – Senator Manchin says this will prevent pile-ups like the one that occurred in the Mount Carbon train derailment earlier this year in Fayette Count, West Virginia. He would also like to see a provision included that gives first-responders the tools they need to protect the communities they serve.

In a separate letter, Senator Manchin is urging negotiators to shorten the authorization period for the bill in order to maximize annual investment levels for all surface transportation programs. To read that letter, please click here.

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