Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

February 3, 2014

King Coal Highway, Coalfields Expressway: Authorities to apply for federal funds to continue projects

BLUEFIELD — The directors of the King Coal Highway and the Coalfields Expressway authorities say they intend to seek federal grant money when it becomes available later this year.

Mike Mitchem, executive director of the King Coal Highway Authority, said no information has been sent out yet in reference to the application process for the so-called federal TIGER, or Transportation’s Investment Generating Economic Recovery, grants, but he hopes he will see the information in the next few months.

“Each year we apply for $66 million in order to help with finishing sections of the highway,” Mitchem said.

The Coalfields Expressway will also be seeking funding when it becomes available.

“If we can we will, but we have not received any information yet. But we are always ready to apply for money that might be available,” Richard Browning, executive director of the Coalfields Expressway Authority, said.

Sections of the Coalfields Expressway in Virginia have already been financed and built through collaboration with local coal companies.

The Fiscal Year 2014 Omnibus Appropriations bill passed last month by the U.S. Senate and earlier this month by the U.S. House of Representatives adds an additional $100 million to the pool of TIGER grants for high-priority transportation infrastructure projects. That increases the pool of federal highway funds to $600 million. Two years ago, the Coalfields Expressway was awarded a $5 million TIGER grant. However, a $20 million application requested for the King Coal Highway project in Mercer County was denied.

— Contact Anne Elgin at

aelgin@bdtonline.com

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