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For Immediate Release                                                                                                              Contact: Robbie Morris

November 23, 2015                                                                                                                                      304-614-3268

Corridor H is Three Miles Closer to Completion

Elkins, WV - A newly completed section of Corridor H was celebrated by a ribbon cutting on November 18, hosted by West Virginia Division of Highways near Buffalo Coal Road close to the Tucker/Grant County line not far from Mount Storm.

The ribbon cutting was attended by federal, state, and local elected officials to celebrate the completion of a new 2.95-mile section which was started two years ago.

Paul Mattox, Jr,  noted, “Corridor H, is the last of the Appalachian Development Highway corridors still incomplete in West Virginia.”

"I'm proud to say that today the vast majority of Corridor H in West Virginia is drivable. I'm hopeful that we can continue the many years of aggressive progress and open this entire important corridor to traffic as soon as possible because I understand how important it is to this area of Central and Eastern West Virginia and how promising it will be for the state as a whole."

Tom Smith, West Virginia Division administrator for the Federal Highways Administration, also addressed those present and said,  “It takes P.E.P - Partnerships, Enthusiasm and Persistence - to complete a large project like Corridor H.”

Smith, also mentioned,  “The continued use of Public-Private Partnerships to fund this roadway is critical as is the impending passing of a federal long-term highway bill is really good news for projects in West Virginia."

The measure, if adopted, will reauthorize and reform federal transportation programs for the next six years. The bipartisan measure includes more than $300 billion in programs to address the nation's deteriorating roads and bridges, such as the corridor.

Keith McIntosh, State Project Coordinator for Senator. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., read a statement on behalf of the Senator."Infrastructure remains a top priority for me. We must invest in our nation's foundation. It's time to start rebuilding America and that begins with strengthening and adding to our own communities within West Virginia," Manchin's statement read. "I've been a staunch supporter of this project for years and I'm so proud to see it finally coming to fruition."

Aaron Sporck read a statement from Senator. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. "The completion of Corridor H will unleash the economic potential of the Potomac Highlands," Capito's statement conveyed. "Not only will the construction of this highway create immediate construction jobs, but it will also present the counties of the Potomac Highlands with significant economic development opportunities."

High winds prevented Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s helicopter from attending the event. In his absence, Paul Mattox Jr. conveyed the governor's statement to attending guests.

"Every mile of Corridor H that has been completed makes it easier for visitors from the East Coast to come to West Virginia and support the large and small businesses that serve a growing part of our economy. In addition, our state's timber and tourism industries stand to benefit from each newly completed section of the roadway.”

Tomblin's, statement also hailed his support for the Public-Private Partnerships for ensuring further projects are completed and applauded the federal government for working toward a long-term highway bill."I have made sure that our state has never failed to match a federal dollar available for highway construction and maintenance and I promise you today that we will continue to secure every possible dollar for continued construction of, not only Corridor H, but other important highway projects across this state.

 Robbie Morris, president of the Robert C. Byrd Corridor H Highway Authority, said he was encouraged by the continued progress being made on the highway. "It is a great day for Corridor H and a great day for West Virginia.  Whenever we complete more of Corridor H it's a great day," he said. "This area will begin to see more traffic, more economic activity, and greater success as a result of every mile that is completed.”

West Virginia, Delegate Bill Hartman, D-Randolph, who is also a member of the Corridor H Authority was pleased with the progress as well. "I spent a great part of my adult life on this roadway," he said. "The economic value is immeasurable."

Hartman added, “the highway presents significant safety benefits for travelers and increases the potential for tourism locally.” "We've replaced some of the most dangerous sections of highway in the state," he said. "What this is going to do for Canaan Valley and the tourism for this part of the state from the east is going to make all the difference in the world."

Corridor H is the last highway of the ADHS in West Virginia to be complete. Seventy-six percent of the highway is either finished or under construction. Stretching 130 miles from I-79 at Weston, Corridor H runs to the Virginia border, where it is designed to travel an additional 13 miles to the I-66/I-81 junction near Front Royal, Virginia.

The remaining section of Corridor H to Davis, WV is expected to be completed in early summer of 2016.  Once the section to Davis is complete, travelers will be able to go from Davis to Wardensville without stopping. That will leave the following segments to be completed: a 15.5-mile section from Kerens to Parsons, a 9.2 mile section from Parsons to Davis and a 6.8 mile section from Wardensville to the Virginia state line.

  “It is the hope of the Corridor H Authority, along with many West Virginians, that progress will continue at an accelerated pace so that we may begin to reap the benefits from the highway that was promised many years ago” said Morris. 







For Immediate Release                                                                 Contact:   Robbie Morris

October 30, 2015                                                                                            304-614-3268
 
Corridor H Authority Encouraged by Bids
 
ELKINS, W.Va. – The Robert C. Byrd Corridor H Highway Authority was encouraged by the bids that were received by the WV Department of Highways for the 7.5 mile stretch of highway from Kerens, WV to the 219 Connector.  “We are pleased with the bids that came in for the next section of Corridor H to be constructed in Randolph and Tucker Counties,” said Robbie Morris, Chairman of the Robert C. Byrd Corridor H Highway Authority.  “While the bids appear to have come in above the engineering estimates, I am hopeful they are close enough to permit the Department of Highways to award the contract.” 

The Kerens to Parsons Section of Corridor H is approximately 15.5 miles.  The WV Department of Highways is planning on completing this section in three segments with the first segment being 7.5 miles, the second segment being approximately 3.4 miles, and the third segment being approximately 4.6 miles.  Currently the Kerens to Parsons Section is estimated to be completed in the first quarter of 2019.

This 7.5 mile segment is the first Corridor H project to use the Public-Private Partnership (P3) financing method. “Earlier this year Governor Tomblin announced that he had directed the Division of Highways to use P3 for this segment of Corridor H. The Corridor H Authority has been encouraging Governor Tomblin and Secretary of Transportation Paul Mattox to use P3 as a means of speeding up the construction schedule.” said Morris.  “We are hopeful the Governor will authorize additional P3 contracts in the very near future so that Corridor H can be completed by 2020 or as soon thereafter as possible.” 

Morris explained “Two years ago, the Corridor H Authority commissioned an economic impact study that found our region will lose a minimum of $1.25 billion if we do not complete Corridor H by 2020 – instead of the currently expected 2036 to 2042 completion date. We need to get Corridor H completed as soon as possible so West Virginia businesses and citizens can begin to reap the benefits.”






For Immediate Release                                             Contact:          Robbie Morris

June 24, 2015
 
New Economic Impact Study Planned for Entire Appalachian Corridor System 
 
ELKINS, W.Va. – The Robert C. Byrd Corridor H Authority praised the Appalachian Regional Commission today for its forward movement on an economic impact study of the entire Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS).  
 
The ADHS includes Corridor H in West Virginia, as well as the completed highways of Route 19 through Summersville (Corridor L), Route 50 (Corridor D), I-68 (Corridor E), Corridor G from Charleston to Pikeville and Corridor Q connecting Monroe County to Virginia.
 
“This new economic impact study will look at the impact of the highways themselves,” said Robbie Morris, President of the Corridor H Authority.  “Aside from the obvious economic benefits of the construction, there is lost opportunity for every year that the system is not complete.”
  
The economic impact study comes 50 years after the Appalachian system was started. The ADHS was conceived as a way to connect land within the rugged mountainous area stretching from New York to Alabama to the nation’s interstate highway system.  Planned as a 3,090-mile network of four-lane roads, more than 2,500 miles are complete, with many more under construction.
 
Morris further explained, “Eighteen months ago, the Corridor H Authority commissioned an economic impact study that found our region will lose $1.25 billion if we do not complete Corridor H by 2020 – instead of the currently expected 2036.  We are proud to have worked with the ARC to have them incorporate these same lost-opportunity economics in this study.”
 
Corridor H is the last highway of the ADHS in West Virginia to be complete. Seventy-six percent of the highway is either finished or under construction.  West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced earlier this month that the next section of the highway would go to bid later this year. The section will begin near the community of Kerens and head northeast toward Parsons.  The project will utilize a Public Private Partnership for financing. This system allows new construction in West Virginia that may otherwise be hindered by budgetary constraints.
 
The Appalachian Regional Commission is now taking proposals for what it considers to be a major economic impact study.  Proposals are due July 17.  More information can be found at:  http://www.arc.gov/images/grantsandfunding/contracts/RFP-EconomicAnalysisoftheADHSJune2015.pdf






FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Economic and Community Leaders Call for Public-Private Partnerships to Complete Corridor H – Sees 2020 Completion Date

ELKINS, W.Va. – Business, community and economic development leaders today strongly encouraged Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and the State Department of Transportation to implement a Public-Private Partnership plan that would allow completion of the Weston-to-Virginia road by 2020.

During a roadside news conference conducted on Corridor H near the community of Kerens, local leaders said their Public-Private Partnership (P3) financing plan would allow sufficient funds to complete the remaining, unfunded 13 percent of the highway.

“We know that West Virginia can finish this highway sooner than expected. We believe it can be done by 2020 if the State will leverage our dedicated funding stream to use a Public-Private Partnership,” Robbie Morris, Randolph County Development Authority Executive Director and Corridor H Authority Chair said.

“It’s a plan that makes sense. It will have an enormous economic impact on the entire state of West Virginia - and especially on North-Central West Virginia and the Potomac Highlands.”

A 2013 economic impact study showed that completing Corridor H by 2020 instead of 2036 would create a $1.25 Billion benefit to the area served by the highway. It is estimated that construction itself will put that total to over $2 Billion.

“Right now, Corridor H is more than 75 percent complete or under construction. The state has made tremendous strides in recent years on new construction on Corridor H. We have momentum. We can see the finish,” Morris said.

“Unfortunately, the expected completion dates are still too far into the future. That can be fixed through a P3.”

Dedicated federal funding towards Corridor H exists through the Appalachian Development Highway System. The pace of those funds will allow - according to recent estimates - completion by 2036. Morris and other community leaders, however, believe the timeline should be accelerated to capture the added economic impact and the estimated $200 million in construction savings that accompany a 2020 completion date.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has announced that West Virginia will be utilizing P3 financing to complete Route 35 in Putnam County. Public-Private Partnerships leverage future highway money toward building as soon as possible. Private firms would finance the Corridor H project, with the state paying the firms back in as little as 10 years.

“It is just like using a mortgage to buy a home,” Morris added. “Our state needs to seize the opportunity and finish Corridor H.”

When another section in Randolph and Tucker Counties, currently planned to begin construction in 2016, are completed, Corridor H will be 87 percent finished.

A strong incentive for completing Corridor is to link the state with Front Royal, Va., which has a large inland port facility that can link Mountain State manufacturers to major East Coast markets and global shipping opportunities.

For more information, visit http://www.corridorh2020.com 


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NEWS ADVISORY
Date: Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Place and Time: Corridor H Construction area at the Tucker County/Grant County line


Contact: Robbie Morris (President of the Corridor H Authority 304-614-3268)


The Robert C. Byrd Corridor H Highway Authority will host a Labor Day CelebrationThank You Luncheon on Wednesday for construction workers who are putting together the latest section of Corridor H. More than 125 workers are expected to attend the recognition event. The luncheon will be held near the Tucker County/Grant County line, on a section of road now under construction. This section of road is scheduled to be complete early in 2015.


The celebration of Labor Day is scheduled for Wednesday with the construction workers to allow those working on the highway to spend Monday with their families.


The GPS coordinates for the location are:
39°12’33”N (39.20917)


79°10’11”W(79.16972) 


Weather is expected to be 76 Degrees with 10% chance of rain.
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IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 28, 2014
Contact: Robbie Morris 304-637-0803
 
Corridor H Authority Resolution Petitions Congress 
To Pass Long-Term Highway Bill

ELKINS, W.Va. – The Corridor H Authority on Monday sent a resolution to the U.S. Congress, calling on lawmakers to work together to immediately solve the “impasse regarding highway funding that is destined to cripple both national and regional economies.”


The federal Highway Trust Fund faces insolvency, and lawmakers have been reluctant to pass a measure that offers more than a temporary fix on financing road and bridge projects nationwide. The Corridor H Authority, while citing that a lack of transportation funding is a national issue, is seeking specifically to fast-track the Corridor H project in West Virginia and Virginia.


The resolution, which features several action points, specifically calls on Congress to create traditional six-year transportation bill. It also calls on Congress to work in a bi-partisan manner that “places the welfare of highway projects and United States workers at the forefront” regarding highway funding discussions and allocations of funds.
“Clearly, politics is getting in the way of what’s good for the country. As an Authority, we wanted to exercise our first amendment right to petition the government,” said Corridor H Authority President Robbie Morris.


“We’re certainly happy that we’ve had tremendous progress on Corridor H in recent years. We’ve reached the point where we can see a finish line,” Morris said. “So it’s tremendously frustrating to see politics getting in the way of passing a long-term funding bill.”
The Corridor H Authority has forwarded copies of the resolution to the:


·       West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe
·       House Speakers, Senate Presidents and Secretaries of Transportation in West Virginia and Virginia 
·       U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx 
·       West Virginia Secretary of Commerce Keith Burdette 
·       Transportation Chairs in the U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, West Virginia Senate and West Virginia House of Delegates
·       West Virginia's and Virginia’s congressional delegations 
 
Construction has been active on Corridor H during the past three years. The most recent activity has taken place between Davis and Moorefield. Roughly 75 percent of Corridor H in West Virginia is finished or currently under construction. Additional scheduled construction will increase the amount of finished highway to 87 percent.
In addition to increasing travel safety and allowing easier access to and from Eastern West Virginia’s tourist destinations, Corridor H will offer an uninterrupted link from West Virginia to the Inland Port in Front Royal, Virginia. From the Inland Port, double-stacked rail containers make their way to the Port of Norfolk, one of the world’s busiest and deepest ports. The link will dramatically increase West Virginia export potential. 
 
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October 21, 2013               
For Immediate Release    
Contact: Curtis Wilkerson (304) 741-5980

WEST VIRGINIA TO LOSE $1.254 BILLION BY NOT COMPLETING CORRIDOR H BY 2020

New Economic Impact Study released by Corridor H Authority shows loss if road construction stays on 2036 schedule.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Completion of Corridor H in 2020, instead of the proposed 2036 end date, would generate $1.25 billion in new revenue to the state of West Virginia, according to an economic study released today.

The study, conducted by RQA Group, modeled the report after similar Appalachian Regional Commission-related studies executed on behalf of highways throughout the 13-state ARC region. It measures projected economic growth, savings on insurance and other safety-related costs, as well as expenses and travel time-related savings that affect both businesses and casual travelers.

The $1.25 billion does not include the economic impact associated with construction costs. In addition to the base economic impact, construction of the highway would add another $800 million to the state’s economy.

“This is an important study, because it quantifies what many of us have felt was the case all along. We’re not surprised in the least that the state would benefit by a billion and a quarter dollars if we finish Corridor H in what we think is a timely manner,” said Corridor H Authority Chairman Steve Foster.

“We felt it was important to see hard data that shows just what we could miss out on if we don’t get this highway completed,” Foster said. “Throw in the $800 million we could save on construction costs, and I think people can see why finishing this now makes sense.”

The study examined how full usage of a completed Corridor H would affect the state’s economy from the years 2020 through 2036. All estimates, however, are made in 2013 dollar values so that inflation will not be a factor.

“The study gives us numbers to offer government agencies and elected officials that tell all of us in a clear way what Corridor H will do for us,” Foster said.

“Many of us have said all along that Corridor H is critical to the economic future of North-Central West Virginia and the Potomac Highlands. By extension, the highway is important to the entire state. Extending that, it is also important to Virginia.”

In addition to increasing travel safety and allowing easier access to and from Eastern West Virginia’s tourist destinations, Corridor H will offer an uninterrupted link from West Virginia to the Inland Port in Front Royal, Virginia. From the Inland Port, double-stacked rail containers make their way to the Port of Norfolk, one of the nation’s busiest and deepest ports. The link will dramatically increase West Virginia export potential.

Construction has been active on Corridor H during the past three years. U.S. Senator (then-West Virginia Gov.) Joe Manchin announced the completion of one major section of highway, as well as an aggressive financing plan that allowed construction to begin on significant portions of the highway between Davis and Moorefield. As a result, 75 percent of Corridor H is either open or currently under construction. 
 

Subsequent plans call for another section of highway to be started within the next three years, which would increase the amount of finished highway to 87 percent when completed.

“The end is in sight,” Foster said. “We just have to push this through to the finish line. The study gives us numbers to present to federal and state legislators and transportation officials.”

The United States Surface Transportation bill, passed last year, made the Appalachian Corridor System (including Corridor H) a national priority.  It also adjusted the portion of matching federal funds from 80 percent to 100 percent share through 2021. Foster hopes this means Corridor can be done by 2020.                                                          

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July 15, 2013
For Immediate Release
Contact: Curtis Wilkerson (304) 982-6050

 
Corridor H Authority Hosts Ground-breaking for One of Highway’s Final Sections

DAVIS, W.Va. – The Corridor H Authority today hosted a ground-breaking ceremony, officially signifying the start of construction for a close to 20-mile section of highway linking Davis with Scherr.

The ceremony took place at a construction site about 300 yards from Canaan Valley Institute, in Davis. The ground-breaking was designed to spotlight the considerable progress made toward completion. When the Davis-to-Scherr section is completed, the roughly 130-mile highway will be more than 75 percent finished.

Other than the Davis-to-Scherr link, three short sections of highway are left to be built. Construction on one of those final sections, from Parsons to Davis, is tentatively scheduled to begin within the next two years, The Corridor H Authority was told today. The Parsons-to-Davis projected construction is three years ahead of its previous schedule, Corridor H Authority President Steve Foster said.

“I now believe in my gut that we’re heading toward the home stretch,” Foster said.

“I don’t want to lead anyone to believe that we don’t have a few more hurdles to jump. But we’ve made great progress in the past few years, and I honestly believe now that we can hit our goal of having this highway either completed or fully under construction by 2020. Three years ago, I never would have believed that possible.”

In addition to increasing travel safety and allowing easier access to Eastern West Virginia’s tourist destinations, a completed Corridor H will tie West Virginia to the Inland Port in Front Royal, Virginia. From the Inland Port, double-stacked rail containers make their way to the Port of Norfolk, one of the world’s busiest and deepest ports. The link will dramatically increase West Virginia export potential.


“We’ve said all along that West Virginia needs Corridor H. And we in North Central West Virginia and the Potomac Highlands especially need completion of this highway. The future economic success of our region is tied the completion of Corridor H,” Foster said.
 
Construction has been active on Corridor H during the past three years. U.S. Senator (then-West Virginia Gov.) Joe Manchin announced the completion of one major section of highway, as well as an aggressive financing plan that allowed construction to begin on significant portions of the highway between Davis and Moorefield. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has continued the support for an excellerated construction timetable.
  
The United States Surface Transportation bill, passed last year, made the Appalachian Corridor System (including Corridor H) a national priority.  It also adjusted the portion of matching federal funds from 80 percent to 100 percent share through 2021. Foster hopes this means Corridor H can be done by 2020.

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January 25, 2013
For Immediate Release

Corridor H Authority Praises Tomblin Appointment to ARC Post

BUCKHANNON, W.Va. - The Corridor H Authority today praised the appointment of West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin as the states’ co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission, saying the governor’s appointment can be a “defining moment for the future of Corridor H.”
 
“We are extremely pleased that the ARC is honoring West Virginia’s governor with this prestigious appointment. It is good for our state and, we sincerely believe, good for all of the Appalachian region,” said Corridor H Authority Chairman Stephen Foster.
 
“What is especially significant to us is that the governor understands how important the completion of Corridor H is to West Virginia’s economy. And he gets the fact that other ARC states would benefit as well when West Virginia is able to link a four-lane road to the inland port in Front Royal, Virginia.”
 
In addition to adding travel safety and allowing easier access to tourists, when completed, Corridor H will tie West Virginia to the Inland Port in Front Royal, Virginia. From the Inland Port, double-stacked rail containers make their way to the Port of Norfolk, one of the world’s busiest and deepest ports. The link will dramatically increase West Virginia export potential.
 
Tomblin’s appointment, which was announced earlier this week, became effective January 1. Tomblin was chosen as co-chair by the governors of the 12 other states in the Appalachian Region. The West Virginia Development Office coordinates the ARC program in the state. Keith Burdette, the Executive Director of the Development Office and the Cabinet Secretary of the Department of Commerce, will serve as the governor's liaison to the Commission. 
 
Beginning in 2010, Foster and other North Central West Virginia and Potomac Highlands economic development directors and elected officials began a highly visible campaign to re-focus a spotlight on what Foster called "the inequity of Corridor H - our unfinished highway."
 
Foster and others worked to put together the Corridor H Authority, a coalition of business leaders, grassroots activists and state, county and municipal officials. Noting that Corridor H was federally earmarked for completion in 2034, the Authority adopted an aggressive slogan - "The 2020 Vision" - that called for Congress and transportation officials to complete Corridor H at least 14 years ahead of schedule.
 
Construction has been active on Corridor H during the past two years. U.S. Senator (then-West Virginia Gov.) Joe Manchin announced the completion of one major section of highway, as well as an aggressive financing plan that allowed construction to begin on significant portions of the highway between Davis and Moorefield. As a result, 75 percent of Corridor H will be completed by the end of 2013. Subsequent plans call for another section of highway to be completed in the next five years, which would increase the amount of finished highway to 87 percent.
 
The United States Surface Transportation bill, passed last year, made the Appalachian Corridor System (including Corridor H) a national priority.  It also adjusted the portion of matching federal funds from 80 percent to 100 percent share through 2021. Foster hopes this means Corridor can be done by 2020.
 
"We're getting there, and it’s not a stretch to say we can reach completion by 2020 with the backing of the ARC," Foster said. "With passage of the Surface Transportation bill and with Governor Tomblin in a leadership position, I’d say we’ve got a great shot at it."

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October 25, 2012
For Immediate Release
Contact: Curtis Wilkerson (304) 982-6050

Corridor H Opens New Section to Traffic

BUCKHANNON, W.Va. - The newest section of Corridor H opened to traffic this week between Knobley Road and Scherr in Grant County. Construction continues on the miles of highway toward Davis, West Virginia - which will make Corridor H 75% complete within the state.

“This is one of many small sections of Corridor H that will be opening over the coming months,” said Robert C. Byrd Corridor H Highway Authority Chairman Steve Foster. “The economic benefits of this highway will be in the billions and affect the lives of tens of thousands of people when it is completed.”

The last remaining sections to be built in West Virginia will be between Davis and Kerens in Randolph County - and a small section to theVirginia border.

“In July, the Virginia Port Authority educated exporters about the connection of Corridor H to the Virginia Port System at Front Royal, Virginia and then by rail to Norfolk,” continued Foster. “And with Norfolk being the only deep water port that Asian ships passing through the newly enlarged Panama Canal will be able to dock, we will see huge benefits for exporting West Virginia goods.”

Corridor H is one of many highways within the Appalachian Development Highway System launched in the 1960s.

Earlier this year, Congress passed a surface transportation bill that forces each state within the Appalachian Development Highway System to make plans known within one year for the remaining roads to be built within the system. Corridor H was also made a national priority in the same piece of legislation and the funding formula for construction was changed from 80% federal and 20% state to 100% federal funds.

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August 19, 2012
By Steve Foster
Opinion Editorial


Wasted Cash Could Have Finished W.Va. Road

An alarming story made news a few weeks ago. It said that last summer’s political squabbling over raising the federal debt limit cost our government more than a billion bucks. Specifically, delays in raising the debt limit forced the Treasury Department to pay an extra $1.3 billion in borrowing cost, and the final sum is expected to climb. This report came from the Government Accountability Office.

I think we in West Virginia are generally practical people. I certainly try to be. My first thought was probably the same as others who read that report: I’ll bet there a lot of people and organizations and projects that could have put $1.3 billion to good use. And since I live and work and grew up in West Virginia, I can almost guarantee you that our state could have used $1.3 billion.

Let me offer you the first example that came to mind. For the past several years, I have been fortunate to be among a group of people that is aggressively trying to promote the completion of Corridor H, the West Virginia highway that will eventually link I-79 from Weston to the Inland Port at Front Royal, Va.

This is an important highway to North-Central West Virginia and the Potomac Highlands. But it is also important for the rest of the state as well. By extension, the highway (via U.S. 50 and I- 79) connects the Ohio Valley with this incredible shipping port, which is a gateway to the global economy.

If you can get the goods to Front Royal, then you can double-stack your products on rail cars that go directly to the port of Norfolk, one of the largest shipping ports in the world.

Corridor H is 75 percent done, but the wheels of government aren’t moving fast enough on the remaining miles. And the sad truth is that the $1.3 billion that evaporated in the squabble over raising the debt limit could have paid for completion of Corridor H.

Obviously, the scenario is not that simple. There are inborn costs of doing business, whether that business is a mom-and-pop store or a multi-million-dollar industry. And even a multi-million-dollar corporation pales in comparison to the federal government, which operates an annual budget that takes in $2.47 trillion in revenue and deals with a staggering $3.8 trillion in expenditures.

But the point is that every successful business survives by careful management of its day-to-day finances. What is your overhead? What is your income? What is your cash outlay for personnel and services? All these questions, and many more, must be tediously scrutinized in order for any business to be successful.

As complex and enormous as the business of running the federal government is, it must answer those basic operational questions and still serve the people of our country.

But the point is that the federal government sometimes fails its investors (us), and mismanaging $1.3 billion is a failure. Not surprisingly, no one person is at fault. The infighting over the debt ceiling was not partisan wastefulness. It was callous management of public resources at all levels.

Unfortunately, many projects could have been completed with $1.3 billion. Corridor H is just one. But it is a good example. West Virginia has a highway — Corridor H — that has been on the books for four decades, and it’s still only 75 percent complete. We need to build it to help our businesses and our tourism destinations in West Virginia.

We could use Washington’s help, but Washington is $1.3 billion lighter.

Foster is chairman of the Robert C. Byrd Corridor H Highway Authority.


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July 16, 2012
Immediate Release
Contact: Randy Coleman (304-546-1358)


West Virginia, Virginia officials tout value of inland port at Front Royal

BUCKHANNON, W.Va. – Officials from West Virginia and Virginia said today that a timely completion of Corridor H will allow the Mountain State to compete globally, whereas delay will serve to hamper success of the state’s businesses and industries.

Economic development, county and municipal leaders, as well elected officials, met at West Virginia Wesleyan College on Monday for an Exporter Summit. The event was sponsored by the West Virginia Corridor H Highway Authority.

The Authority is seeking completion of Corridor H by 2020, roughly 14 years earlier than federal highway timelines have set for the final leg in West Virginia to be finished.

Russell Held, Deputy Executive Director, Development, for the Virginia Port Authority, said at Monday's meeting that West Virginia would be much more “competitive on a global scale” with the completion of Corridor H.

“International trade opportunities lead to economic growth and investment. Logistics is a key part of that,” Held said. “The completion of Corridor H will certainly help West Virginia’s competitiveness.”

Corridor H Highway Authority Chairman Steve Foster was more blunt.

“We need to compete, and right now we’re losing money. I can think of nothing that would help businesses and industries in North Central West Virginia and the Potomac Highlands more than completion of Corridor H,” Foster said. “This project has been in development for more than 40 years. It’s time to get it built.”

Seventy-five percent of Corridor H in West Virginia is either complete or under construction. The figure will increase to 87 percent by 2018.

The recently passed United States Surface Transportation bill made the Appalachian Corridor System, including Corridor H, a national priority. Further, it adjusted the portion of matching federal funds from 80 percent to 100 percent share through 2021.

“We sincerely hope this is going to mean that we bring funds in quicker,” Foster said.

Both Held and Foster touted the benefits of the inland port in Front Royal Virginia. When Corridor is complete, West Virginia businesses will have direct access to the large inland port at Front Royal, Virginia - where double-stacked container rail can then take goods to Norfolk, the deepest port on the Eastern Seaboard.

For more information on the Corridor H project, go to the Committee's website at: www.corridorh2020.com.


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June 25, 2012
By Steve Foster
Opinion Editorial

The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, as well as Republicans and Democrats from both legislative bodies, are playing political poker with our future right now. The game involves the federal Surface Transportation bill.

Seeing federal politicians stare each other down in hopes that they can bend legislations in their direction is nothing new – that’s how politics is played. Sometimes the fights on Capitol Hill are almost entertaining. But other times, when the haggling in Washington, D.C. affects us directly, there is nothing funny about it. The transportation bill is critically important to West Virginia. And the bottom line is that we need for our federal lawmakers to get this bill right, and do it soon.

The last comprehensive transportation bill was enacted in 2005. It has been extended nine different times, offering a temporary solution that allowed highway money to continue flowing to states. The most recent extension ends on June 30. Unless Congress passes another extension or actually agrees on a compromise to the existing Surface Transportation bill, all federal highway construction will stop.

The Senate passed a sensible plan months ago. The House is holding the bill hostage.

The Senate bill, which has strong bi-partisan support, is good for West Virginia highways and especially good for Corridor H, a highway that will bring tremendous economic benefit to North-Central Eastern West Virginia and, by extension, all of the Mountain State. The bill calls for two more years of construction funding. It also would make Corridor H a “national priority” and change the funding formula to a 95 percent to 5 percent, federal-to-state ratio.

House Republicans, on the other hand, are seeking to slash federal highway funding by 40 percent. Additionally, the House had sought to negotiate approval of several other measures - approval of what they believe to be a necessary pipeline and limiting EPA regulation of coal ash – before House Republicans would agree to pass a transportation measure.

The good news – we hope – is that Senate Transportation Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and House chair John Mica (R-Florida) have indicated that they believe the two houses will come to consensus by the end of the month.

But what is the compromise?

Simply stated, we need the Senate version of this bill. We need the Senate’s language and funding formula. We also hope that in the near future Congress will pass a measure that forces states sitting on unused Appalachian Development Highway funds to loan that money to states with active projects. The approach is called “spend it or lend it.”

Corridor H is the last Appalachian Development Highway System project in West Virginia. It was conceived more than 40 years ago, and it’s time to complete this highway. We have industries throughout North Central and Eastern West Virginia that need high-quality access to the inland port to Front Royal, Virginia.

Corridor H will be 75 percent competed in West Virginia by the end of next year.The final segments are from Kerens to Davis and from Wardensville to the Virginia border. Ninety percent of the highway is in West Virginia. Ten percent is in Virginia.

We want momentum on Corridor H, which we have, to continue.



# # #

Corridor H completion by 2020 looking closer to reality thanks to Senate bill
 
Foster praises work of Rockefeller, Manchin; expresses confidence in W.Va. House members
 
BUCKHANNON, W.Va. - The long-time dream of completing Corridor H during this decade just became closer to reality, Corridor H Authority Chairman Steve Foster said today.
On behalf of Authority members, Foster both praised and thanked West Virginia Sens. John D. Rockefeller and Joe Manchin for the leadership and support during the U.S. Senate's 74-22 passage of a surface transportation bill that targets the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS) as a "national priority."
 
"This is phenomenal news. Senator Rockefeller took a proactive approach in his committee toward helping us finish Corridor H. We couldn't be more appreciative of the work Senators Rockefeller and Manchin have done, both quietly and publicly, to help us finish this great project," Foster said.
Rockefeller chairs the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. He recommended that the "national priority" status for ADHS projects.
 
The ADHS connects rural areas in 13 Appalachian states to major highways, helping economic development. Corridor H is the only incomplete part of the ADHS system in West Virginia and one of the few incomplete projects nationally.
 
"We feel confident that U.S. House will also see the importance of this transportation bill, and we certainly believe that we'll have the backing of our congressional representatives," Foster said. "Congressman Rahall and Congresswoman Capito have certainly been vocal in their support."
 
Beginning in 2010, Foster and other North Central West Virginia and PotomacHighlands economic development directors and elected officials began a highly visible campaign to re-focus a spotlight on what Foster called "the inequity of Corridor H - our unfinished highway."
 
Foster and others worked to put together the Corridor H Authority, a coalition of business leaders, grassroots activists and state, county and municipal officials. Noting that Corridor H was earmarked for completion in 2034, the Authority adopted an aggressive slogan - "The 2020 Vision" - that called for Congress and transportation officials to complete Corridor H at least 14 years ahead of schedule.
 
Construction has been active on Corridor H during the past two years. Then-Gov. Manchin announced the completion of one major section of highway, as well as an aggressive financing plan that allowed construction to begin on significant portions of the highway between Davis and Moorefield.
 
As a result, 75 percent of Corridor H will be completed by the end of 2013.
 
"We're getting there," Foster said. "I honestly believe 2020, or maybe even sooner, is now a realistic goal."



# # #


News Release
November 14, 2011
Contact: Randy Coleman (304) 546-1358



Corridor H Authority Launches Public Education Campaign

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The Robert C. Byrd Corridor H Authority announced today that it is launching a statewide education campaign aimed at enlightening West Virginia residents on the economic importance of completing Corridor H, which would link the state with the Virginia Inland Port in Front Royal.

The Virginia Inland Port serves as a critical link to moving goods – domestically and globally - in and out of the Mountain State.
“Quite simply, this is the economic future for a significant sector of our state. It is literally life and death for many of our businesses and industries,” said Steve Foster, chairman of the Corridor H Authority.

“Many people in our state have never heard of the Virginia Inland Port. But this port offers direct access to Norfolk, one of the largest ports in the world. Right now, West Virginia has no easy access to the global economy. If we complete this highway, we will. We can be a player globally.”

The announcement of the public education campaign came on the heels of an appearance by Foster and Rahall Transportation Institute specialist Patrick Donovan on Monday before members of the state Legislative Joint Interim Committee on Infrastructure.

The education campaign includes a Facebook page, maps of the highway’s progression, a recently produced video explaining Corridor H, advertisements on news sites throughout West Virginia and Western Virginia, billboards, brochures, the creation of speakers bureau.

The highway is expected to be 75 percent complete by the end of 2013.
The Corridor H Authority web site is www.CorridorH2020.com.

# # #

July 15, 2013
For Immediate Release
Contact: Curtis Wilkerson (304) 982-6050

 
Corridor H Authority Hosts Ground-breaking for One of Highway’s Final Sections

DAVIS, W.Va. – The Corridor H Authority today hosted a ground-breaking ceremony, officially signifying the start of construction for a close to 20-mile section of highway linking Davis with Scherr.

The ceremony took place at a construction site about 300 yards from Canaan Valley Institute, in Davis. The ground-breaking was designed to spotlight the considerable progress made toward completion. When the Davis-to-Scherr section is completed, the roughly 130-mile highway will be more than 75 percent finished.

Other than the Davis-to-Scherr link, three short sections of highway are left to be built. Construction on one of those final sections, from Parsons to Davis, is tentatively scheduled to begin within the next two years, The Corridor H Authority was told today. The Parsons-to-Davis projected construction is three years ahead of its previous schedule, Corridor H Authority President Steve Foster said.

“I now believe in my gut that we’re heading toward the home stretch,” Foster said.

“I don’t want to lead anyone to believe that we don’t have a few more hurdles to jump. But we’ve made great progress in the past few years, and I honestly believe now that we can hit our goal of having this highway either completed or fully under construction by 2020. Three years ago, I never would have believed that possible.”

In addition to increasing travel safety and allowing easier access to Eastern West Virginia’s tourist destinations, a completed Corridor H will tie West Virginia to the Inland Port in Front Royal, Virginia. From the Inland Port, double-stacked rail containers make their way to the Port of Norfolk, one of the world’s busiest and deepest ports. The link will dramatically increase West Virginia export potential.


“We’ve said all along that West Virginia needs Corridor H. And we in North Central West Virginia and the Potomac Highlands especially need completion of this highway. The future economic success of our region is tied the completion of Corridor H,” Foster said.
 
Construction has been active on Corridor H during the past three years. U.S. Senator (then-West Virginia Gov.) Joe Manchin announced the completion of one major section of highway, as well as an aggressive financing plan that allowed construction to begin on significant portions of the highway between Davis and Moorefield. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has continued the support for an excellerated construction timetable.
  
The United States Surface Transportation bill, passed last year, made the Appalachian Corridor System (including Corridor H) a national priority.  It also adjusted the portion of matching federal funds from 80 percent to 100 percent share through 2021. Foster hopes this means Corridor H can be done by 2020.

                                                    #



January 25, 2013
For Immediate Release

Corridor H Authority Praises Tomblin Appointment to ARC Post

BUCKHANNON, W.Va. - The Corridor H Authority today praised the appointment of West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin as the states’ co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission, saying the governor’s appointment can be a “defining moment for the future of Corridor H.”
 
“We are extremely pleased that the ARC is honoring West Virginia’s governor with this prestigious appointment. It is good for our state and, we sincerely believe, good for all of the Appalachian region,” said Corridor H Authority Chairman Stephen Foster.
 
“What is especially significant to us is that the governor understands how important the completion of Corridor H is to West Virginia’s economy. And he gets the fact that other ARC states would benefit as well when West Virginia is able to link a four-lane road to the inland port in Front Royal, Virginia.”
 
In addition to adding travel safety and allowing easier access to tourists, when completed, Corridor H will tie West Virginia to the Inland Port in Front Royal, Virginia. From the Inland Port, double-stacked rail containers make their way to the Port of Norfolk, one of the world’s busiest and deepest ports. The link will dramatically increase West Virginia export potential.
 
Tomblin’s appointment, which was announced earlier this week, became effective January 1. Tomblin was chosen as co-chair by the governors of the 12 other states in the Appalachian Region. The West Virginia Development Office coordinates the ARC program in the state. Keith Burdette, the Executive Director of the Development Office and the Cabinet Secretary of the Department of Commerce, will serve as the governor's liaison to the Commission. 
 
Beginning in 2010, Foster and other North Central West Virginia and Potomac Highlands economic development directors and elected officials began a highly visible campaign to re-focus a spotlight on what Foster called "the inequity of Corridor H - our unfinished highway."
 
Foster and others worked to put together the Corridor H Authority, a coalition of business leaders, grassroots activists and state, county and municipal officials. Noting that Corridor H was federally earmarked for completion in 2034, the Authority adopted an aggressive slogan - "The 2020 Vision" - that called for Congress and transportation officials to complete Corridor H at least 14 years ahead of schedule.
 
Construction has been active on Corridor H during the past two years. U.S. Senator (then-West Virginia Gov.) Joe Manchin announced the completion of one major section of highway, as well as an aggressive financing plan that allowed construction to begin on significant portions of the highway between Davis and Moorefield. As a result, 75 percent of Corridor H will be completed by the end of 2013. Subsequent plans call for another section of highway to be completed in the next five years, which would increase the amount of finished highway to 87 percent.
 
The United States Surface Transportation bill, passed last year, made the Appalachian Corridor System (including Corridor H) a national priority.  It also adjusted the portion of matching federal funds from 80 percent to 100 percent share through 2021. Foster hopes this means Corridor can be done by 2020.
 
"We're getting there, and it’s not a stretch to say we can reach completion by 2020 with the backing of the ARC," Foster said. "With passage of the Surface Transportation bill and with Governor Tomblin in a leadership position, I’d say we’ve got a great shot at it."

                                                            ###


October 25, 2012
For Immediate Release
Contact: Curtis Wilkerson (304) 982-6050

Corridor H Opens New Section to Traffic

BUCKHANNON, W.Va. - The newest section of Corridor H opened to traffic this week between Knobley Road and Scherr in Grant County. Construction continues on the miles of highway toward Davis, West Virginia - which will make Corridor H 75% complete within the state.

“This is one of many small sections of Corridor H that will be opening over the coming months,” said Robert C. Byrd Corridor H Highway Authority Chairman Steve Foster. “The economic benefits of this highway will be in the billions and affect the lives of tens of thousands of people when it is completed.”

The last remaining sections to be built in West Virginia will be between Davis and Kerens in Randolph County - and a small section to theVirginia border.

“In July, the Virginia Port Authority educated exporters about the connection of Corridor H to the Virginia Port System at Front Royal, Virginia and then by rail to Norfolk,” continued Foster. “And with Norfolk being the only deep water port that Asian ships passing through the newly enlarged Panama Canal will be able to dock, we will see huge benefits for exporting West Virginia goods.”

Corridor H is one of many highways within the Appalachian Development Highway System launched in the 1960s.

Earlier this year, Congress passed a surface transportation bill that forces each state within the Appalachian Development Highway System to make plans known within one year for the remaining roads to be built within the system. Corridor H was also made a national priority in the same piece of legislation and the funding formula for construction was changed from 80% federal and 20% state to 100% federal funds.

# # #

August 19, 2012
By Steve Foster
Opinion Editorial


Wasted Cash Could Have Finished W.Va. Road

An alarming story made news a few weeks ago. It said that last summer’s political squabbling over raising the federal debt limit cost our government more than a billion bucks. Specifically, delays in raising the debt limit forced the Treasury Department to pay an extra $1.3 billion in borrowing cost, and the final sum is expected to climb. This report came from the Government Accountability Office.

I think we in West Virginia are generally practical people. I certainly try to be. My first thought was probably the same as others who read that report: I’ll bet there a lot of people and organizations and projects that could have put $1.3 billion to good use. And since I live and work and grew up in West Virginia, I can almost guarantee you that our state could have used $1.3 billion.

Let me offer you the first example that came to mind. For the past several years, I have been fortunate to be among a group of people that is aggressively trying to promote the completion of Corridor H, the West Virginia highway that will eventually link I-79 from Weston to the Inland Port at Front Royal, Va.

This is an important highway to North-Central West Virginia and the Potomac Highlands. But it is also important for the rest of the state as well. By extension, the highway (via U.S. 50 and I- 79) connects the Ohio Valley with this incredible shipping port, which is a gateway to the global economy.

If you can get the goods to Front Royal, then you can double-stack your products on rail cars that go directly to the port of Norfolk, one of the largest shipping ports in the world.

Corridor H is 75 percent done, but the wheels of government aren’t moving fast enough on the remaining miles. And the sad truth is that the $1.3 billion that evaporated in the squabble over raising the debt limit could have paid for completion of Corridor H.

Obviously, the scenario is not that simple. There are inborn costs of doing business, whether that business is a mom-and-pop store or a multi-million-dollar industry. And even a multi-million-dollar corporation pales in comparison to the federal government, which operates an annual budget that takes in $2.47 trillion in revenue and deals with a staggering $3.8 trillion in expenditures.

But the point is that every successful business survives by careful management of its day-to-day finances. What is your overhead? What is your income? What is your cash outlay for personnel and services? All these questions, and many more, must be tediously scrutinized in order for any business to be successful.

As complex and enormous as the business of running the federal government is, it must answer those basic operational questions and still serve the people of our country.

But the point is that the federal government sometimes fails its investors (us), and mismanaging $1.3 billion is a failure. Not surprisingly, no one person is at fault. The infighting over the debt ceiling was not partisan wastefulness. It was callous management of public resources at all levels.

Unfortunately, many projects could have been completed with $1.3 billion. Corridor H is just one. But it is a good example. West Virginia has a highway — Corridor H — that has been on the books for four decades, and it’s still only 75 percent complete. We need to build it to help our businesses and our tourism destinations in West Virginia.

We could use Washington’s help, but Washington is $1.3 billion lighter.

Foster is chairman of the Robert C. Byrd Corridor H Highway Authority.


# # #

July 16, 2012
Immediate Release
Contact: Randy Coleman (304-546-1358)


West Virginia, Virginia officials tout value of inland port at Front Royal

BUCKHANNON, W.Va. – Officials from West Virginia and Virginia said today that a timely completion of Corridor H will allow the Mountain State to compete globally, whereas delay will serve to hamper success of the state’s businesses and industries.

Economic development, county and municipal leaders, as well elected officials, met at West Virginia Wesleyan College on Monday for an Exporter Summit. The event was sponsored by the West Virginia Corridor H Highway Authority.

The Authority is seeking completion of Corridor H by 2020, roughly 14 years earlier than federal highway timelines have set for the final leg in West Virginia to be finished.

Russell Held, Deputy Executive Director, Development, for the Virginia Port Authority, said at Monday's meeting that West Virginia would be much more “competitive on a global scale” with the completion of Corridor H.

“International trade opportunities lead to economic growth and investment. Logistics is a key part of that,” Held said. “The completion of Corridor H will certainly help West Virginia’s competitiveness.”

Corridor H Highway Authority Chairman Steve Foster was more blunt.

“We need to compete, and right now we’re losing money. I can think of nothing that would help businesses and industries in North Central West Virginia and the Potomac Highlands more than completion of Corridor H,” Foster said. “This project has been in development for more than 40 years. It’s time to get it built.”

Seventy-five percent of Corridor H in West Virginia is either complete or under construction. The figure will increase to 87 percent by 2018.

The recently passed United States Surface Transportation bill made the Appalachian Corridor System, including Corridor H, a national priority. Further, it adjusted the portion of matching federal funds from 80 percent to 100 percent share through 2021.

“We sincerely hope this is going to mean that we bring funds in quicker,” Foster said.

Both Held and Foster touted the benefits of the inland port in Front Royal Virginia. When Corridor is complete, West Virginia businesses will have direct access to the large inland port at Front Royal, Virginia - where double-stacked container rail can then take goods to Norfolk, the deepest port on the Eastern Seaboard.

For more information on the Corridor H project, go to the Committee's website at: www.corridorh2020.com.


# # #


June 25, 2012
By Steve Foster
Opinion Editorial

The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, as well as Republicans and Democrats from both legislative bodies, are playing political poker with our future right now. The game involves the federal Surface Transportation bill.

Seeing federal politicians stare each other down in hopes that they can bend legislations in their direction is nothing new – that’s how politics is played. Sometimes the fights on Capitol Hill are almost entertaining. But other times, when the haggling in Washington, D.C. affects us directly, there is nothing funny about it. The transportation bill is critically important to West Virginia. And the bottom line is that we need for our federal lawmakers to get this bill right, and do it soon.

The last comprehensive transportation bill was enacted in 2005. It has been extended nine different times, offering a temporary solution that allowed highway money to continue flowing to states. The most recent extension ends on June 30. Unless Congress passes another extension or actually agrees on a compromise to the existing Surface Transportation bill, all federal highway construction will stop.

The Senate passed a sensible plan months ago. The House is holding the bill hostage.

The Senate bill, which has strong bi-partisan support, is good for West Virginia highways and especially good for Corridor H, a highway that will bring tremendous economic benefit to North-Central Eastern West Virginia and, by extension, all of the Mountain State. The bill calls for two more years of construction funding. It also would make Corridor H a “national priority” and change the funding formula to a 95 percent to 5 percent, federal-to-state ratio.

House Republicans, on the other hand, are seeking to slash federal highway funding by 40 percent. Additionally, the House had sought to negotiate approval of several other measures - approval of what they believe to be a necessary pipeline and limiting EPA regulation of coal ash – before House Republicans would agree to pass a transportation measure.

The good news – we hope – is that Senate Transportation Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and House chair John Mica (R-Florida) have indicated that they believe the two houses will come to consensus by the end of the month.

But what is the compromise?

Simply stated, we need the Senate version of this bill. We need the Senate’s language and funding formula. We also hope that in the near future Congress will pass a measure that forces states sitting on unused Appalachian Development Highway funds to loan that money to states with active projects. The approach is called “spend it or lend it.”

Corridor H is the last Appalachian Development Highway System project in West Virginia. It was conceived more than 40 years ago, and it’s time to complete this highway. We have industries throughout North Central and Eastern West Virginia that need high-quality access to the inland port to Front Royal, Virginia.

Corridor H will be 75 percent competed in West Virginia by the end of next year.The final segments are from Kerens to Davis and from Wardensville to the Virginia border. Ninety percent of the highway is in West Virginia. Ten percent is in Virginia.

We want momentum on Corridor H, which we have, to continue.



# # #

Corridor H completion by 2020 looking closer to reality thanks to Senate bill
 
Foster praises work of Rockefeller, Manchin; expresses confidence in W.Va. House members
 
BUCKHANNON, W.Va. - The long-time dream of completing Corridor H during this decade just became closer to reality, Corridor H Authority Chairman Steve Foster said today.
On behalf of Authority members, Foster both praised and thanked West Virginia Sens. John D. Rockefeller and Joe Manchin for the leadership and support during the U.S. Senate's 74-22 passage of a surface transportation bill that targets the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS) as a "national priority."
 
"This is phenomenal news. Senator Rockefeller took a proactive approach in his committee toward helping us finish Corridor H. We couldn't be more appreciative of the work Senators Rockefeller and Manchin have done, both quietly and publicly, to help us finish this great project," Foster said.
Rockefeller chairs the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. He recommended that the "national priority" status for ADHS projects.
 
The ADHS connects rural areas in 13 Appalachian states to major highways, helping economic development. Corridor H is the only incomplete part of the ADHS system in West Virginia and one of the few incomplete projects nationally.
 
"We feel confident that U.S. House will also see the importance of this transportation bill, and we certainly believe that we'll have the backing of our congressional representatives," Foster said. "Congressman Rahall and Congresswoman Capito have certainly been vocal in their support."
 
Beginning in 2010, Foster and other North Central West Virginia and PotomacHighlands economic development directors and elected officials began a highly visible campaign to re-focus a spotlight on what Foster called "the inequity of Corridor H - our unfinished highway."
 
Foster and others worked to put together the Corridor H Authority, a coalition of business leaders, grassroots activists and state, county and municipal officials. Noting that Corridor H was earmarked for completion in 2034, the Authority adopted an aggressive slogan - "The 2020 Vision" - that called for Congress and transportation officials to complete Corridor H at least 14 years ahead of schedule.
 
Construction has been active on Corridor H during the past two years. Then-Gov. Manchin announced the completion of one major section of highway, as well as an aggressive financing plan that allowed construction to begin on significant portions of the highway between Davis and Moorefield.
 
As a result, 75 percent of Corridor H will be completed by the end of 2013.
 
"We're getting there," Foster said. "I honestly believe 2020, or maybe even sooner, is now a realistic goal."



# # #


News Release
November 14, 2011
Contact: Randy Coleman (304) 546-1358



Corridor H Authority Launches Public Education Campaign

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The Robert C. Byrd Corridor H Authority announced today that it is launching a statewide education campaign aimed at enlightening West Virginia residents on the economic importance of completing Corridor H, which would link the state with the Virginia Inland Port in Front Royal.

The Virginia Inland Port serves as a critical link to moving goods – domestically and globally - in and out of the Mountain State.
“Quite simply, this is the economic future for a significant sector of our state. It is literally life and death for many of our businesses and industries,” said Steve Foster, chairman of the Corridor H Authority.

“Many people in our state have never heard of the Virginia Inland Port. But this port offers direct access to Norfolk, one of the largest ports in the world. Right now, West Virginia has no easy access to the global economy. If we complete this highway, we will. We can be a player globally.”

The announcement of the public education campaign came on the heels of an appearance by Foster and Rahall Transportation Institute specialist Patrick Donovan on Monday before members of the state Legislative Joint Interim Committee on Infrastructure.

The education campaign includes a Facebook page, maps of the highway’s progression, a recently produced video explaining Corridor H, advertisements on news sites throughout West Virginia and Western Virginia, billboards, brochures, the creation of speakers bureau.

The highway is expected to be 75 percent complete by the end of 2013.
The Corridor H Authority web site is www.CorridorH2020.com.

# # #

July 29, 2011
Immediate Release
Contact: Randy Coleman (304-546-1358)



Business owners, local officials begin aggressive effort to speed up Corridor H timetable

   With a reference to millions of dollars in transportation costs that West Virginia businesses are losing, more than 100 business owners, industry representatives, county and municipal officials, state representatives and economic development leaders in North Central and Eastern West Virginia have signed a letter directed to federal officials urging “completion in the near, near future” of Corridor H.
   The letter cites the “long-term forecast of high gasoline prices, as well as other relevant costs of transporting goods,” and the savings that would be gained by exporting West Virginia products through the inland port at Front Royal, Va. Many companies, especially in the timber industry, must now utilize the shipping port at Baltimore, Md.
   Corridor H will provide a direct route from Weston, W.Va. to Front Royal, Va., therefore a considerably more affordable business route.
   The letter is directed to U.S. Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin and Representatives Shelley Moore Capito, David McKinley and Nick Rahall. It also targets Federal Highway Administration officials and members of key federal House and Senate committees.
   “The completion of Corridor H, we are convinced, will mean the difference in success or failure for many existing companies. Any date beyond 2020 for completion of this critical highway threatens the health and future of our businesses. We believe we are not exaggerating when we suggest that we cannot truly achieve a successful economic future in Eastern West Virginia without the timely completion of Corridor H,” the letter states.  
   The letter also praises Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) for his recent public recognition of the role “exports” will play in West Virginia’s future and says, “West Virginia businesses and industries recognize that they will not survive if they are unable to offer their products to a global audience. Yet, without the Commerce Corridor that Corridor H will be, when completed, our state’s businesses not only will suffer, they might not survive. The costs of shipping will be too great.” 
The effort is aimed at saving money and, ultimately, at saving West Virginia businesses, said Steve Foster, director of the Buckhannon-Upshur County Economic Development Authority and chairman of the Corridor H Authority.
   “Let’s put this in simple terms by looking at the impact on a single company. A timber company in Buckhannon pays roughly $4 per gallon of gasoline on a 500-mile round trip to ship a West Virginia product out of Baltimore. This same company would travel 260 miles round trip to Front Royal, Va. That’s a heck of a savings on fuel alone, and that’s just one trip,” Foster said.
   “You multiply that by thousands of trips for hundreds of companies – some shorter, some farther - and you get a snapshot of what Corridor H means to the economy of North Central West Virginia and Potomac Highlands.”,
   Foster, who is also a member of the Hardwood Alliance Zone, a seven-county organization that promotes the region’s hardwood industry, noted that on a recent trip to Washington, D.C. he learned that the Appalachian Regional Commission is “sitting on” on roughly $2 billion in unspent highway funds. 
   “We need to do everything we can to free up funds that have been sitting dormant for years,” Foster said. “It’s time to finish this project. It’s been on the books for almost five decades.”
   The Hardwood Alliance Zone and the Corridor H Authority have begun a campaign known as “2020 Vision” that calls for Corridor H to be either under construction or in final planning stages by 2020, roughly 14 years ahead of its existing federal schedule.
  In addition to meeting with Appalachian Regional Commission officials, Corridor H Authority representatives have met with a host of congressional leaders and transportation officials in Virginia. Authority members have met on several occasions with members of the West Virginia governor’s office, Department of Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox and officials at the state Department of Commerce.
  “We’ve been busy. We also believe we can reach our 2020 goal,” Foster said.


# # #


For Immediate Release                                   
July 20, 2011
Contact: Randy Coleman (304) 546-1358

                                                              

Corridor H Authority Sees Fruits of Labor with United States Senate Bill to Complete Corridor H

ELKINS, W.Va. – The Corridor H Authority - a West Virginia agency that has passionately and repeatedly touted the virtues of Corridor H to anyone who would listen - today praised U.S. Senators Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Richard Shelby (R-AL) for introducing a bill that would allow existing funds to complete the Mountain State’s portion of the highway.

Seventy-five percent of Corridor H, a highway that eventually will link Weston, W.Va. with I-81 near Front Royal, Va., is either complete or under construction. The Corridor H Authority has been working closely with the Hardwood Alliance Zone, a seven-county coalition that promotes the hardwood industry in North-Central West Virginia and the Potomac Highlands, to seek funding sources to complete the highway in a timely manner. Rockefeller, Manchin and Shelby have introduced the document that most North-Central West Virginia and the Potomac Highlands residents have been seeking, said Steve Foster, Chairman of the Corridor H Authority.

“This is an amazing day. The message that we can construct this highway with existing funds has been heard by the people and by the Senate,” Foster said.

“You can’t overstate what the completion of Corridor H will mean to our region. Corridor H links I-79 to the junction of I-66 and I-81 where the Virginia Inland Port is located,” Foster said. “This gives us direct access to the port at Norfolk, where deep draft ships coming through the Panama Canal after the 2014 dredging will anchor. This will expand our exports.”

Corridor H is the last section of Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS) projects in West Virginia.  ADHS is the system of highways within the “Appalachian counties” of the thirteen states that comprise the Appalachian Regional Commission.  

The ADHS was conceived in the early 1960’s. Of the original 3,090 ADHS-designated miles, 85 percent is complete.  The money targeted in the Rockefeller-Manchin-Shelby bill comes from states that have ADHS-designated projects that might never be built.  Each year, those states receive funds for the unconstructed highway miles under the ADHS funding formula. The federal government pays for 80 percent of construction, with state’s matching the remaining 20 percent.

The bill put forth by the Senators would not only fund the system for the next six years, it would also reallocate funds that states do not use to other states with ADHS highways under construction. By federal law, ADHS funds can only be spent on ADHS roads. West Virginia, South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia and New York are close to completion of their respective parts of the highway system.

The bill also calls for states with unspent ADHS funds to loan them to states within the ADHS. The loans would be repaid by future federal appropriations, along with the state’s 20 percent match. 


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For Immediate Release                                    
April 21, 2011                                                               
Contact: Randy Coleman (304) 546-1358 



Hardwood Alliance Zone Representatives Meet with Virginia Port Authority Over Corridor H

FRONT ROYAL, VA – Representatives of the Hardwood Alliance Zone and the Rahall Transportation Institute traveled to Front Royal, Virginia, to meet with the Director of the Virginia Port Authority to educate officials there about the economic impact of Corridor H.  The meeting was held at the Virginia Inland Port at Front Royal, Virginia near the Interstate 66 and Interstate 81 junction where Corridor H will join.


“This was a tremendous opportunity to discuss the economic impact of both states by the completion of Corridor H by 2020,” said Steve Foster of the Hardwood Alliance Zone who also serves as the Economic Development Director of Upshur County.  “The completion of this highway is estimated to create 80,000 jobs throughout the Appalachian Corridor System.”


West Virginia exported approximately $85 million in hardwoods internationally last year.  The Virginia Inland Port, where Corridor H would end, has the ability to fumigate the timber, load it into double-stacked container rail and take it directly to ships at Norfolk – the deepest port on the East Coast. This could lead to more competitive transportation costs for West Virginia’s hardwood industry.


“This is a corridor of commerce for West Virginia,” continued Foster. “The highway is 75% complete or under construction right now.  By 2018, that number will be 87%.  We need to finish this highway by 2020.”


In addition to the hardwood timber industry, many other sectors of the economy will benefit from the construction of this highway.  They include the poultry industry, the outdoor recreation, and the tourism industries.  Furthermore, WV higher education institutions are working to attract more students from the Washington DC area.  The completion of Corridor H helps to insure the economic future of West Virginia.


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December 9, 2010
Immediate Release
Contact: Randy Coleman (304-982-6050)

Corridor H Town Hall meeting set for December 15 in Elkins

Updates from Department of Transportation, discussion of regional economic development to highlight evening

            
 A Corridor H Town Hall Meeting, which will feature a construction update by West Virginia Department of Transportation officials, will be held on Wednesday, December 15, at 7 p.m. at the Randolph County Courthouse Annex in Elkins.

County, municipal and state officers, economic development officials, business representatives and the public are expected to attend. The meeting will be hosted by the Hardwood Alliance Zone.

“We are extremely excited about getting regional and state business leaders, as well as state and local officials, together to discuss the importance of this project to West Virginians. We're pleased that the Department of Transportation has graciously accepted our request to make a presentation and answer question,” said Upshur County Economic Development Authority Director Steve Foster, who also serves as a Hardwood Alliance Zone board member.

“Our region has received good news recently about the progress of the corridor, and we would like to see this project completed in the near future.

West Virginia Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Harry Bergstrom will give an update on the progress of Corridor H construction and the DOT’s plans regarding eventual completion of the highway.

The town hall meeting will also include open discussion and economic development updates regarding business, industry and tourism in North Central West Virginia and the Potomac Highlands regions of West Virginia.

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November 19, 2010
Immediate Release
Contact: Randy Coleman (304-546-1358)


50 officials to date have signed Corridor H Pledge

The Hardwood Alliance Zone announced today that so far 50 public officials in the Potomac Highlands and North Central West Virginia regions have signed a pledge to support the continued construction and timely completion of Corridor H. The pledge was offered to county, municipal and state elected officials in the 14-county area of West Virginia most directly affected by Corridor H.

The Hardwood Alliance Zone (HAZ), a regional organization dedicated to promoting the wood products industry in West Virginia, is leading this statewide public-awareness campaign designed to promote the importance of Corridor H to businesses and residents. HAZ board members also signed the pledge.

“Corridor H is critical to the long-term success of small businesses, industries, tourism destinations and residents in a large sector of our state. And for the first time in many years, we’re feeling a sense of hope that this project is moving forward,” said Hardwood Alliance Zone board chairman Robbie Baylor.

“We thought it would be an appropriate, unifying gesture to get the leaders in our communities to publicly pledge their support for completion of the Corridor,” Baylor said. “We are delighted and grateful for the initial response we have received.

“During an election season, it’s possible that some folks didn’t see the invitations to sign the pledge, so we’ll follow up with more contact,” Baylor added. “Needless to say, we’d like to have 100 percent participation in this effort.”

Baylor said the pledge-signing offer was extended to circuit clerks, commissioners, county clerks, mayors, state senators and delegates, including recent candidates for those offices. Foster indicated, however, that HAZ does not endorse candidates and that the pledge was independent from the election campaigns. That’s why HAZ waited until after November 2 to release the names of officials signing the pledge.
Baylor indicated that the HAZ effort is a continuation of work begun in 2009 by the Corridor H Coalition, an eastern West Virginia organization that also is seeking to promote the completion of the Appalachian Corridor highway.

Baylor said that any officials interested in signing the pledge that didn’t see the initial invitation are free to contact HAZ board member Stephen Foster (304-472-1757) or spokesman Randy Coleman (304-546-1358) to obtain a copy of the pledge.

The following officials have signed the pledge, which reads: I pledge my support for the construction and completion of Corridor H in West Virginia. I recognize that construction progress on the Corridor H highway will bring much-needed jobs to West Virginia and that the successful completion of this Appalachian Corridor highway will assist existing and new West Virginia businesses and industries and provide significant economic development opportunities that do not now exist. I fully support efforts to complete Corridor H by 2020.

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November 10, 2010 
Contact:  Randy Coleman (304) 546-1358

Corridor H Authority Launches Public Education Campaign

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The Robert C. Byrd Corridor H Authority announced today that it is launching a statewide education campaign aimed at enlightening West Virginia residents on the economic importance of completing Corridor H, which would link the state with the Virginia Inland Port in Front Royal.

The Virginia Inland Port serves as a critical link to moving goods – domestically and globally - in and out of the Mountain State.

“Quite simply, this is the economic future for a significant sector of our state. It is literally life and death for many of our businesses and industries,” said Steve Foster, chairman of the Corridor H Authority.

“Many people in our state have never heard of the Virginia Inland Port. But this port offers direct access to Norfolk, one of the largest ports in the world. Right now, West Virginia has no easy access to the global economy. If we complete this highway, we will. We can be a player globally.”

The announcement of the public education campaign came on the heels of an appearance by Foster and Rahall Transportation Institute specialist Patrick Donovan on Monday before members of the state Legislative Joint Interim Committee on Infrastructure.

The education campaign includes a Facebook page, maps of the highway’s progression, a recently produced video explaining Corridor H, advertisements on news sites throughout West Virginia and Western Virginia, billboards, brochures, the creation of speakers bureau.

The highway is expected to be 75 percent complete by the end of 2013.

The Corridor H Authority web site is www.CorridorH2020.com.
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