Federal spending bill includes more money for W.Va. 9 construction

January 10, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. ? An additional $7.8 million for W.Va. 9 construction in the Eastern Panhandle was included in a federal spending bill recently signed by President Bush, U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd's office announced Thursday.

The last of three sections of the four-lane highway project left to be completed between Charles Town, W.Va., and Martinsburg was awarded to a contractor in November 2007.

The section between Charles Town and Martinsburg was projected last month to be completed in November 2009, but state Division of Highways officials expected a "tight" schedule for that to happen.

Segments of the new state highway between Charles Town and the Virginia line and from Martinsburg to Berkeley Springs are further behind that schedule.


John Bray, a spokesman for Byrd's office, said Thursday the 2008 fiscal year Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill that contained the money for W.Va. 9 did not include funding for the extension of Raleigh Street in Martinsburg to Edwin Miller Boulevard near the city's north end.

Bray said in an e-mail Thursday that Byrd included $23 million for the Raleigh Street "extension" project in a separate transportation corrections bill. That included transferring $13 million that had previously been appropriated for the W.Va. 9 bypass project around Martinsburg's north end.

"(The) timing of that bill is uncertain at this time, as some senators have placed a hold on the bill, which prevents the legislation from moving forward," Bray said.

The $7.9 million announced by Byrd's office Thursday was part of the $356.1 million federal allocation for West Virginia highway construction, a $41 million increase in funding, according to the senator's news release.

"These dollars will bring real benefits to our state ? safer roads, new jobs, and economic growth for communities in need of modern highways. West Virginians will reap the dividends of these investments for generations to come," Byrd said.

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