$ 6 billion over next five years: West Virginia leaders welcome Washington’s adoption of national infrastructure deal | New
CHARLESTON – Passage of the bipartisan infrastructure investment and jobs act last week will bring a total of about $ 6 billion to investment in West Virginia over the next five years.
Senator Joe Manchin, DW.Va., said the money will help make much-needed upgrades to state highways and boost rail and other transportation, as well as bring broadband to remote areas of the state.
“West Virginia has 1,545 bridges and over 3,200 miles of poor freeways, and 32% of the state’s trains and other transit vehicles are past their useful life. At least 258,000 West Virginia residents do not have broadband access, ”he said after the House passed the bill Friday night. “Our bipartisan bill will help West Virginia and every other state across the country meet our nation’s infrastructure needs while creating well-paying jobs and growing the economy. This type of investment has not been made for three decades. I am pleased that the House of Representatives has passed this bipartisan legislation and I look forward to President Biden enacting it. I have always said that the best policy is good government, and I am incredibly proud of my bipartisan colleagues for their tireless efforts to cross the finish line and make this major investment in America’s needs.
The Senate passed the $ 1.2 trillion bill (including nearly $ 600 billion in new spending) at the start of the summer, but it was delayed in the House as more progressive Democrats attempted to push back. tie its passage to the $ 3.5 trillion Build Back Better bill.
One of the senators who supported and helped shape the infrastructure bill was Senator Shelley Moore Capito, RW.Va.
“The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is historic, bipartisan legislation that will dramatically improve America’s basic infrastructure,” she said after the vote in the House. “This bill will rebuild ruined roads and bridges; tackle aging water and wastewater systems; support our airports and ports; and connect rural America to broadband infrastructure and finally bridge the digital divide. As a ranking member of the EPW committee, I am particularly proud that the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill and the Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Bill of my committee are the basis of this package.
The process of passing the bill began earlier this spring with Capito’s negotiations with President Joe Biden.
“Seeing the final bipartisan product make its way to her office today is exciting,” she said on Saturday. “This bill is further proof that this bipartisan process is leading to better, lasting politics that will benefit the American people for generations to come.”
Governor Jim Justice also praised his passage during his pandemic briefing on Monday.
“It’s great in every way,” he said. “He’s the best of the best.”
Justice said he didn’t agree with the whole bill, but “West Virginia will be a huge beneficiary.”
Justice also congratulated Representative David McKinley of District R-1, who was the only state representative to vote for the bill.
“It took a lot of courage for David to follow what he did …” he said as the other two GOP representatives voted against.
Manchin, Capito and Justice have all said that part of the bill’s money will go to major projects such as King Coal Highway, Coalfields Expressway and Corridor H.
Representative Carol Miller, of the R-3rd District, which represents southern West Virginia, opposed the bill.
“West Virginia needs targeted investments in our roads, bridges, waterways and broadband,” she said. “Projects such as King Coal Highway, Corridor H and Bluestone Dam will help meet our state’s transportation and growth needs – and I look forward to supporting these projects in a different bill. Because Nancy Pelosi has now linked this bill to the socialist trillion dollar spending insanity, I voted ‘no’. Congress must invest in our nation, not impose taxes and debts on our children and grandchildren. “
Capito and Justice also opposed the Build Back Better bill Miller referred to and criticized House Democrats for trying to tie the two bills together.
The Bill Back Better bill is currently still in negotiation, trying to get enough support from the Senate, mostly Manchin, to get it through with a possible price tag of $ 1.75 trillion instead of the proposed 3.5. trillions of dollars. Manchin has made it clear that he will not bear the initial cost.
The two Virginia senators, Democrats Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, have welcomed the passage of the infrastructure bill.
“With tonight’s (Friday night) passage in the House of Representatives, Congress is finally doing what it has promised for generations: investing in American infrastructure,” the senators said in a joint statement. “This bipartisan package will repair crumbling roads and bridges, improve air, rail and sea transport, expand broadband access and boost our economic recovery. We are proud that this bill is now heading to the President’s office for signature, and we look forward to working with our colleagues and President Biden in the days and weeks to come to adopt new priorities to help Virginians. “
– Contact Charles Boothe at [email protected]