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U.S. Sen. Capito announces EDA infrastructure grants with U.S. Commerce official

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito shakes hands with John Fleming, the assistant secretary of economic development for the U.S. Department of Commerce. (Photo by Steve Allen Adams)

SCOTT DEPOT — Flanked by red, white and blue Peterbilt semi-trucks, more than $7 million in federal grant funding for infrastructure projects around the state was announced Monday in an awards ceremony in Putnam County by U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.

“We’re announcing today another substantial round of projects,” Capito said. “We have people who have driven quite some ways to be here on Veterans Day to get the good news and get the check.”

Capito was joined by John Fleming, assistant secretary of economic development for the U.S. Department of Commerce, to award funding for eight projects in West Virginia totaling $7,049,375.

Capito and Fleming were joined by 3rd District Rep. Carol Miller, R-W.Va., and representatives of U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and 2nd District Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va. The announcement took place at the Calvin Hatfield Maintenance Facility in Scott Depot.

“We couldn’t do it without the help of folks like Carol Miller and Congressman Mooney and (1st District Congressman David) McKinley and Sen. Manchin,” Capito said. “We need our whole delegation to pull it together, because for a small state you’ve got to get your voice a little bigger and broader every time.”

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito announced Monday more than $7 million in federal grant funding for infrastructure projects around the state. (Photo by Steven Allen Adams)

Awards were:

∫ $2 million for the city of Philippi for sewer infrastructure.

∫ $1.5 million for the Pocahontas Public Service District for sewer infrastructure.

∫ $1.2 million for the town of Capon Bridge for sewer infrastructure.

∫ $860,000 for the Putnam Public Service district for sewer infrastructure.

∫ $750,000 for the Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle in Weirton to enable West Virginia Community Technical College to provide an industry-supported 20-week welding training program.

∫ $500,000 for the West Virginia Coalition for Technology Based Economic Development in South Charleston to launch the TechWrx West Virginia entrepreneurial development initiative.

∫ $150,000 for the Eastern Panhandle Regional Planning and Development Council to design and engineer roadway and other infrastructure improvements needed to open 526 acres of land to manufacturing and commercial development and the expansion plans of the local community college.

∫ $57,375 for the Marshall University Research Corporation in Huntington for the Robert C. Byrd Institute to complete a regional workforce analysis.

Fleming, the director of the U.S. Economic Development Administration, said the $7 million is being matched by $4 million in local and state dollars, as well as additional federal investment. He also said these projects would create or retain more than 1,200 jobs and bring in $380 million in private investment.

“What we typically do is invest money into public works in order to remove obstacles to private sector investment,” Fleming said. “Our job is to make other people spend their money to create jobs for you and to improve your community’s economy.”

Capito said her interest in EDA grant funding came about after a meeting with EDA officials in the administration of former president Barack Obama. She said she was surprised to learn how little in grant funding the state received from the program.

“They showed me this is all the dollars you’re getting for West Virginia for EDA, and I just looked at it and I said I’m sorry, but that’s not enough,” Capito said.

Since then, Capito has worked with the EDA to help get grant funding for infrastructure projects in the state.

“We’ve been able over the last several years to impact 48 counties, create 4,000 new jobs, and retain about 1,800 of our former jobs,” Capito said. “Whether it’s infrastructure improvements, workforce training, management programs, and efforts to support our entrepreneurs – our jobs of the future.”

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