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McKinley pushing to finish Corridor H

The Inter-Mountain photo by Brad Johnson Taking part in a meeting Monday morning about Corridor H construction and other matters are, from left, Randolph County Development Authority Executive Director Robbie Morris, James Rossi, District Eight engineer for the state Division of Highways, and Congressman David McKinley, R-W.Va.

ELKINS — Congressman David McKinley, R-W.Va., visited Elkins Monday morning, gathering information and raising public awareness about making a push to finish Corridor H highway construction.

McKinley met with more than a dozen people at the West Virginia Wood Technology Center, including James Rossi, District Eight engineer for the state Division of Highways; Randolph County Development Authority Executive Director Robbie Morris; and Tucker County Commissioner Lowell Moore.

In November, the Congressman cast his vote for the $1.2 trillion hard infrastructure bill, which will provide $6 billion to West Virginia, to be spent on for roads and bridges, water and sewer systems, broadband connectivity and other issues.

McKinley said he wants to use some of the funds to finish Corridor H.

“We’ve got the attention now, let’s make sure we finish it now,” McKinley told The Inter-Mountain after Monday morning’s meeting. “I don’t like this time line, with Corridor H construction running until 2030. People deserve better. They want their government to be more responsive in a timely fashion.”

McKinley said some had advised him to vote no on the infrastructure bill and wait until 2024, when a Republican might be president and a better bill could be written that would help West Virginia.

“I’ve already waited 11 years,” he said. “Next year we could very well win back a majority in the House. But that doesn’t mean (a new bill) would pass the Senate, or that (President Joe) Biden will sign it.”

He noted that opportunities continue to open up for West Virginia if Corridor H can be completed.

“We’re working with the Pennsyvlania and Maryland delegations on the North/South Corridor,” he said. “It starts in Pennsylvania, runs through Cumberland, Maryland and on down through Keyser and connects to Corridor H. That’s going to open up Central Pennsylvania and Western Pennsylvania, and it’s going to help Keyser out.

“We’ve got to get Corridor H done. That’s why I don’t understand, why would someone vote against the change to improve? This is very positive for us. I’m proud, we’re going to get some money into West Virginia.”

Later in the day Monday McKinley was traveling to Tucker County to meet with officials there on issues including broadband access and a lack of cellphone towers.

“U.S. News and World Report had us 50th for the worst infrastructure in the country,” he said. “We have one of the lowest per capita incomes. So now we have a chance to do something. The money is here, so let’s do it.”

McKinley said he hopes the public understands that he voted for an infrastructure only bill, because he thought it would help West Virginia.

“This bill did not have social spending in it,” he said. “This bill was infrastructure. And the funding it will bring to our state is greatly needed.”

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