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Lawmakers to discuss infrastructure funding priorities in next interim meetings

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — State lawmakers will talk again next week about what the state’s priorities should be for the billions of dollars to be received in federal infrastructure funding.

Delegate Jason Barrett (R-Berkeley)

The legislature’s interim committee on infrastructure will discuss those priorities at a Dec. 5 meeting at the capitol.

Del. Jason Barrett, R-Berkeley, is a member of the committee that is considering the $6 billion allocation. Barrett said state Transportation Secretary Jimmy Wriston has broken down the funding for lawmakers.

“Of the six billion dollars coming into West Virginia, half of that, three billion is to go to highways,” Barrett said. “There will be $506 million for bridges, $487 million for water projects, $190 million for public transit, $100 million for broadband, $44 million to our local airports and then $46 million to an electric car charging network.”

Barrett saif the money will be allocated over a five year period. He said one of Secretary Wriston’s big goals is finishing Corridor H which Barrett said “would really help connect the Eastern Panhandle to the rest of West Virginia.”

Barrett said broadband access is as key as electricity was a hundred years ago and would go a long way in attracting professionals who want to leave more expensive markets in Northern Virginia to live and work remotely from the Mountain State. He said the Internet providers, whether legacy companies or start-ups, will need to step up their game:

“You know, if we’re going to partner with them to provide the fiber and the network that’s necessary, then they’re going to have to be responsible to ensure that they provide the service up every hill and hollow in the state,” Barrett said.

The infrastructure committee will meet as part of the legislature’s next round of monthly interim committee meetings that begin Sunday, Dec. 5.

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