BECKLEY, W.Va. — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey were among the participants at an early morning candidates forum in Raleigh County on Thursday.

During the question-and-answer period, Manchin, who is running for reelection on the Democratic ticket, suggested that the creation of a national infrastucture bank would help to address southern West Virginia’s physical infrastructure needs, as well as the needs of many other areas of the country where aging roads and bridges are a growing concern.  Manchin later spoke with MetroNews affiliate WJLS, and explained why he believes the concept of an infrastucture bank makes sense.

“An infrastructure bank would basically allow every state to plan for projects that could take three to five or six years, based on the money that was available to them, to match down.  Right now, the highway bill, every year, has to be appropriated and done over.  We’re not getting long-term planning at all, any more,” said Manchin.

Morrisey, who is Manchin’s Republican opponent in the November election, also spoke with WJLS about the infrastructure bank proposal, saying he believed that the creation of a new federal agency would not be the right approach, and likely would lead to frustration and delays by adding new layers to the existing bureaucratic labyrinth.

“We don’t need more federal government. Infrastructure’s pretty simple.  We have a state bond that went through. We need to get the federal goverment to help dramatically supplement that, so we can can actually build out our roads, our bridges, our internet, our dams.  But to create broad, new bureaucracies that have proven to be failures in the past?  No,” he said.

During Thursday morning’s event, Manchin and Morrisey joined a group of candidates, most of whom are nominees for seats in the West Virginia Senate and the House of Delegates, to discuss the most pressing needs affecting the southern region of the state.  The forum was sponsored by the Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce.