CHARLESTON, W.Va. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure, today joined West Virginia Secretary of Transportation Byrd White, Deputy Secretary and Acting Commissioner of Highways Jimmy Wriston, and others in Mason and Putnam counties where she received an update on the U.S. Route 35 construction project, which has long been a priority of Senator Capito’s since she was first elected to Congress.
“Residents across our region, especially in Putnam and Mason counties, have long recognized the economic and safety benefits that a four-lane Route 35 will provide. That’s why I made Route 35 my top priority when I was first elected to Congress. Not only will this road improve the quality of life for our local residents, but it will also have a positive impact on our economy, bringing new jobs to the region. I thank Secretary White and Commissioner Wriston for joining me today to provide an update on this project, and I look forward to the day when this road is finally completed and West Virginians can reap the benefits,” Senator Capito said.
“We extend our appreciation to Senator Capito for her interest in this important project,” Secretary of Transportation White said. “The project will have a lasting, far reaching impact on the people of our state and help us reach the future they deserve. For that to happen, we all need to work together.”
Today, Senator Capito penned an op-ed for the Charleston Gazette-Mail highlighting the importance of completing the U.S. Route 35 project and her efforts to make this possible. Click here to read Senator Capito’s op-ed.
In 2001, then-Representative Capito joined the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee where she identified the Route 35 project as her highest priority. Over the past two decades, Senator Capito has worked with local leaders, state officials, federal administrations, and congressional colleagues to secure the necessary funds for the project, which is expected to be completed in July 2021.
Between 2001 and 2006, then-Representative Capito secured $105 million in specific congressionally directed spending to build Route 35. Combined with formula dollars authorized by the highway bills Senator Capito supported in Congress, more than $512 million in federal funds were spent on Route 35 between 2001 and 2018. Additional federal dollars continue to be utilized today as the project nears completion.
Discretionary federal grant funds play a significant role in large projects like Route 35; however, from 2013 through November 2018, West Virginia received only $10 million in discretionary federal grant funds for roads and bridges. Since Senator Capito became chairman of EPW’s Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee following the November 2018 election, she has secured $181.4 million in these discretionary highway funds for West Virginia projects through her positon as chairman and in partnership with President Trump’s administration. Over the last 20 months, West Virginia has received 18 times more discretionary highway funds than it did during the prior five years. That includes a $20 million discretionary grant for widening the I-64 Nitro-St. Albans Bridge.
Also in her role as chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, Senator Capito played an integral role in the writing of the Senate highway bill—America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act—ensuring the needs of West Virginia and greater Appalachia are met. The bill authorizes $287 billion over five years—including $259 billion for formula programs—to maintain and repair America’s roads and bridges. The legislation would also increase West Virginia’s highway formula dollars by $50 million in the first year alone.
Photo highlights from today’s visit are included below:
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