Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) announced that their bipartisan, bicameral Finish the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS) Act will be included in the bipartisan infrastructure agreement. This outcome was negotiated by 22 bipartisan Senators. For the first time since 2012, the bipartisan infrastructure agreement includes $1.25 billion in dedicated funding over five years for the Appalachian transportation network. West Virginia would receive nearly $200 million toward the completion of Corridor H.
In 1965, Congress authorized the creation of the Appalachian Development Highway System to bring commerce and opportunity to our region. Since I served as Governor of West Virginia, I have worked hard to complete Corridor H, our last remaining section of the ADHS, but we can’t do it on our own. And it’s clear that West Virginia roads and bridges, which rank as some of the worst in the nation, need a significant investment. Our bipartisan bill will maintain the commitment President Kennedy made to Appalachia so long ago, and I’m pleased this language has been included in the bipartisan infrastructure agreement. This investment will provide $1.25 billion, including nearly $200 million for Corridor H, to connect West Virginia and the region with the rest of the nation.”Senator Joe Manchin
Since its creation in 1965, the Appalachian Development Highway System has created thousands of miles of highway, creating jobs and bringing important economic development to rural parts of Ohio and the rest of Appalachia. Unfortunately, the portion that remains incomplete is difficult to build and expensive,”
“I am pleased that this legislation is included in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, so that the System may finally be completed and hard-to-reach places in Appalachia are no longer hard to reach.”Ohio Senator Rob Portman
Senator Manchin has been working tirelessly to complete Corridor H, West Virginia’s remaining section of the ADHS. Senators Manchin and Portman introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Finish the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS) Act, in June
The ADHS was signed into law in 1965 by President Johnson to build 3,090 miles of highway. As of the 2021 fiscal year, only 276 miles are left to be built, with 91.1 percent of the system under construction or open to traffic. According to the ARC, the full cost of completion for the ADHS is roughly $9.7 billion. Its completion would create 47,000 jobs and facilitate billions more in goods and services throughout Appalachia. Every $1 invested in the ADHS yields an estimated return of $7.10.
Since its inception in 1965, the ADHS has generally received specifically dedicated funding for its construction from Congress on a yearly basis. However, in 2012, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and its successor, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, no longer provided dedicated ADHS funds to States’ Departments of Transportation; because of this, many projects suffered. The purpose of ADHS was to build in isolated areas in Appalachia – places that were difficult, expensive, and hard to reach. Dedicated federal funding is the only viable solution to finishing the last few portions of this critical network.