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$7.8 million for W.Va. 9 in federal spending bill

Money for Martinsburg Raleigh St. extension coming in second bill: Byrd

Money for Martinsburg Raleigh St. extension coming in second bill: Byrd

January 11, 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.

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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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