Capito visits W.Va.'s Eastern Panhandle

November 29, 2011|By RICHARD F. BELISLE |
  • Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito reads to pre-kindergarten students at Winchester Avenue School in Martinsburg, W.Va. Tuesday.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito Tuesday led a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new access road into the Tabler Station Business Park that’s under construction in Berkeley County.

The ceremony was held in the main terminal building at the Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport. It was the second of four planned stops on Capito’s daylong itinerary in the Eastern Panhandle.

The ribbon was cut for Technology Drive, a new primary access road to the east side of the park. It connects U.S. 11 to the recently completed Business Park Drive, formerly Tabler Station Road.

Capito, the 2nd Congressional District’s six-term Republican, secured $311,000 from the U.S. Department of Transportation for the project. Another $400,000 from the state’s Industrial Access Road grant program was added to the total.

In 2005, Capito helped to bring in $1.2 million and another $332,500 in 2009 toward the 250-acre park’s overall construction costs.

Capito, in brief remarks, credited the Berkeley County Development Authority for its vision in bringing smart growth the county.

The authority through a local, state and federal partnership, “has been working on the overall development of Tabler Station Business (Park) for many years,” said Stephen Christian, the authority’s executive director.

“We are always excited to see another piece of the infrastructure come to fruition,” he said.

Capito said local representatives to Congress “know where the money is needed.”

The project has been in the works since 2004, when the authority acquired the land.

The business and industrial park’s current tenants are AMP Asphalt, which produces asphalt products used in the production of roofing materials, such as shingles, and a branch of the 167th TFR Federal Credit Union.

Verizon Wireless also has acquired property for a cellular tower, Christian said.

Christian said the asphalt company spent about $25 million to $30 million on the operation, which is served by a newly built rail spur connection to Winchester & Western Railroad, which cuts through the business park.

Capito took a moment to talk about her “disappointment” over the congressional super committee’s failure to reach an agreement on cutting the nation’s budget deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next decade.

“I thought they’d get there, but I’m not totally without hope that they can find a way to compromise,” she said.

She said spending cuts are needed in Social Security and Medicare but none that would affect citizens 55 and older.

Capito would not commit to raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, preferring instead to follow the Republican Party call for “tax reform,” such as eliminating loopholes for corporate jet owners and mortgage interest deductions for owners of second homes “that only the wealthy can own.”

Capito said she signed a no new taxes pledge in 2000.

Her first stop on her Tuesday itinerary was reading to pre-kindergarten students at Winchester Avenue School. She also spoke with teachers on the challenges and benefits of incorporating pre-kindergarten classrooms into schools.

In the early afternoon, she toured the new Hope Center for substance abuse patients at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center.

Later in the day she stopped by South Middle School to discuss the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia’s Success Through Empowerment Program, which provides educational assistance and daily tutoring.

Research shows the program decreases teen pregnancy by 50 percent and increases the number of high school and college graduates, according to Capito’s news release.

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