CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Transportation Secretary Tom Smith said credit for $40 million in grants through the US Department of Transportation for two highway projects in West Virginia can be credited to Gov. Jim Justice and his close relationship with President Donald Trump.
“The highway department had put in for these grans some time ago,” Smith Friday on MetroNews “Talkline.” “When Governor Justice learned we hadn’t gotten anything out of USDOT for several years, he did not hesitate to ring into the White House and let them know he was concerned.”
It wasn’t long until yesterday’s announcement of funding for another section of Corridor H from Kerens to Parsons and a bypass around Berkeley Springs. As time moves on, Corridor H continues to slowly become reality and the Kerens to Parsons stretch is one of only three left on the sprawling four-lane to eventually hook I-79 to I-81 in Virginia.
“This particular work will be in Tucker County,” said Smith. “We currently have a grading contract underway there and have another one cued up to go. This build grant will actually get the pavement on those sections and get the roadway over to Parsons.”
Corridor-H is a high priority of the Justice Administration and funding for the roadway is at the top of the list for the Governor’s Roads to Prosperity program. According to Smith, the new money from the feds will help free up other money in the program and speed up other projects. All that will be left is the Parsons to Davis stretch and from Wardensville to the Virginia border.
The Berkeley Springs bypass grant is aimed at creating a way around the town via US Route 522 and easing up the downtown congestion.
The work will now get started, but it’s a slow process. However, Smith added as time progresses, the Roads to Prosperity Program is starting to morph from the small projects into medium and larger scale projects.
“Thanks to Governor Justice’s program we’ve got about a billion dollars on the street we would not have had without his program,” he explained.