Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

April 20, 2009

Region hopeful for more stimulus funds

ATHENS — The region still has a good chance of securing additional federal stimulus dollars, according to U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va.

“The goals of course are to produce jobs and sustain development,” Rahall, who hosted a federal stimulus funding workshop Monday on the campus of Concord University, said. “This is going to be transparent. The taxpayers will be able to clearly see where the taxpayer dollars are going.”

Although held on the campus of Concord University, the stimulus funding workshop was simulcast to eight different southern West Virginia locations. One of the first issues to be addressed during Monday’s workshop was transportation projects.

Rahall said another pool of federal stimulus dollars will soon be made available for transportation projects. Rahall said West Virginia has a good chance of tapping into those transportation dollars. When asked about the King Coal Highway and the Coalfields Expressway, Rahall said both of the southern West Virginia highway projects will be “in the mix” for consideration for additional stimulus dollars.

Rahall said federal stimulus dollars also could help with other projects in the state, including water and sewer needs, and broadband deployment. Rahall, who recently secured $275,000 in the federal 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Bill for renovations to the Mercer County Healthy Department, said the “need is there” for additional federal funds for the local health center.

Joe Coburn, president of the Mercer County Commission, said officials are still hopeful about the health department. Coburn said the commission also is working with Gov. Joe Manchin to try to secure additional state dollars for the priority project.

Coburn said the commission also is looking for federal funding for water and sewer projects, as well as the King Coal Highway.

“We are hopeful we are going to get some approval for this in the next round of money,” Coburn said. “I think the congressman has worked hard for us, and the senators.”

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