WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — West Virginians are far too familiar with the Corridor H project, which has been in the works for years. But lawmakers are working to get the appropriate funding to finish it.
“This is a high priority for our state,” West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin said.
“It’s roads, it’s highways. We’ve got to carve out for bridges,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said.
Both Capito and Manchin are working to secure funds for Corridor H, a part of the Appalachian Development Highway System that would connect West Virginia’s Interstate 79 to Interstate 81 in Virginia, making the interior of West Virginia more accessible.
“When you look at Corridor H, how it brings the whole population base of the (Washington) DC, Baltimore, metro area, of millions of people, into play now that haven’t been, that’s a game-changer,” Manchin said.
Capito and Manchin secured about $135 million federal dollars the last two years for the project, but Capito says they still need more.
“The gas tax traditionally pays for this, but it falls short. The financing committee is going to be looking for other funding sources,” Capito said.
More than 80 percent of Corridor H is finished. Capito and Manchin say finishing the last 27 miles will be a major boost for business in the state.
“From the hotel business, to the restaurant business, to everything else that goes with traveling, truck stops and all the different things, that creates the economy,” Manchin said.
The road will also make it easier for average citizens to get around
“Whether it’s to grocery shop, to go to school, to go to church, or just to pick up a neighbor and go get a cup of coffee another ten miles away, rural states are like that,” Capito said.
It’s estimated the remainder of Corridor H could cost $800 million to finish.
Manchin hopes it’s finished in about four years.