12.02.15

West Virginia Would Get $2.5 Billion in Compromise Highway Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. — West Virginia would receive $2.5 billion in federal highway funding over five years if a new compromise transportation bill, one that does not include a gasoline tax increase, is approved by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama.

House and Senate negotiators touted Tuesday’s agreement on the $300 billion plan, claiming it is paid for. Among the supporters is West Virginia 1st District Congressman David McKinley, who appeared Wednesday on MetroNews “Talkline.”

“I’m proud of it. We’ve been able to accomplish something,” McKinley said. “We were able to convince the conference committee to add more money for rural roads and bridges like we have in West Virginia.”

There has been criticism of the “pay for” portion of the bill, with critics calling the sources of revenue “phony pay-fors.”

McKinley disagreed: “Let’s not make perfect the enemy of good. We’ve got a program here that’s going to be a five-year plan. It’s the first time we’ve had it since George Bush. It has no new tax increases. That’s what a lot of us conservatives have been pushing for on this.”

There’s currently no political appetite for an increase in the 18-cents a gallon federal gas tax, U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said Wednesday on “Talkline.”

“To have it fully paid for is an enormous bonus,” Capito said.

States like West Virginia could plan for major highway projects with five years of funding in place, Capito said.

“It has set asides for rural places, high-cost development, Corridor H and the King Coal Highway,” she said. “It also has in there the aspect I’ve been pushing which is the rural broadband.”

It’s possible the bill will be up for final passage in the House and Senate later this week.


By:  Jeff Jenkins
Source: Metro News