Rahall said current six-year funding for roads and transportation in Washington runs out on Sept. 30 and that finding funding for roads and highways will be a major problem for the federal government, which will have to figure out how to come up with the needed $500 Billion for transportation infrastructure.
“I have already put in a request for $80 million for Route 10,” Rahall said, noting that the price tag to finish the project is already in the $200 million range.
Rahall said many years ago a reporter from USA Today accused him of misappropriating funds for a pork project when he got the first $50 million for Route 10.
“So I called him up and said, if you will come here and ride on Route 10, I will answer any question you have,” Rahall said.
“When he saw a school bus playing chicken with a coal truck it scared him half to death and he changed his mind. He saw how important this project is.”
Rahall said there is no way he and United States senators Robert C. Byrd and John D. “Jay” Rockefeller can get all the funding earmarked for the project from the federal government and that the state has to do more than provide 20 percent matching funds.
“The state has to allocate more money,” he added.
“We are all in this together.”
Rahall thanked Freda Napier, Mike Pollard and Robert Perry, members of the Route 10 Road Committee, for their help and support in getting funding for the project and discussed the years of work and funding appropriated to replace what has been justifiably called one of the most dangerous highways in the nation.
Rahall said the road committee’s work meeting with Gov. Manchin and other state officials had caused Route 10 to be advanced up on the state’s list of priorities even as the cost for the project has increased to $25 million per mile.
Rahall said he and Senator Byrd have been looking at three possible sources of funding for the road, including the transportation bill, the general fund and possibly stimulus money.
Pollard said the committee members recently met with state officials to request an additional $200 million in funding to hopefully complete the project.
In other topics at the meeting:
Rahall also discussed the topic of healthcare in the Man region, and the proposed level five trauma center that many want to see replace the old Man Hospital, which has been closed for many years.
“This is a very important issue,” Rahall said, noting he had met with Logan County Administrator Rocky Adkins and Logan County Commission President Art Kirkendoll about the matter on Tuesday morning at 9 a.m.
“Under the stimulus package guidelines, it does not meet the requirements, but I think an effort should be made,” Rahall said.
Rahall, who was first elected to Congress in 1976, is now on his 17th term in the US House of Representatives and is no stranger to Logan County.
“I have had a full day already,” Rahall said of his three morning meetings. The congressman said he was glad to hear Logan had largely been unaffected by the recent flooding which devastated Gilbert and other areas of Mingo County and expressed his thanks to the people in Logan who had been involved in the many different flood relief drives.
Rahall is also no stranger to Rotary International, having been an honorary member of the Beckley Rotary Club for many years.
“This is not my first time visiting the Rotary Club of Logan and I look forward to coming back many times in the future,” Rahall told members of the Rotary and guests from the Route 10 Road Committee.