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The Governor of West Virginia, Earl Ray Tomblin, along with Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox, Congressman Nick Rahall and the Coalfields Expressway Authority, three days ago announced plans to advertise a Request of Qualifications (RFQ) for the Coalfields Expressway Highway PPP project under Senate Bill 190.
This 3.3-mile section of the Coalfields Expressway will connect Mullens to existing sections already under construction and, when complete, open the expressway from I-64/I-77 to Mullens (nearly 19 miles).
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin stated:
A solid infrastructure helps provide our communities with additional economic development opportunities, and the public-private partnership concept is a great example of how state government and the private sector can work together to improve the quality of life for our residents.
Secretary Mattox commented:
The PPP is another valuable tool to continue to preserve, maintain and build highways infrastructure in West Virginia. Additionally, I would like to recognize Congressman Rahall's support with not only this important project, but every transportation issue we've faced.
Congressman Rahall, top Democrat of the House Transportation and Infrastructure stated:
Our state is breaking new ground with this partnership agreement. It is most welcome news for the Coalfields Expressway, but it is equally promising news for other highway projects as well. Innovative financing is a true asset in attracting every available federal and other funding dollar to build our highways and the jobs that come with them.
Richard Browning, executive director of the Coalfields Expressway Authority, added:
The authority would like to thank Governor Earl Ray Tomblin for embracing this new concept of public-private partnership for highway construction in West Virginia, Congressman Nick Rahall for providing the funding through federal highway legislation and congressional earmarks for the Coalfields Expressway over the years, and the West Virginia Division of Highways for embracing the PPP concept and for their dedication and funding for the project. Using this type of bidding for highway construction should result in the delivery of the project to the residents of the area quicker and cheaper.
The Coalfields Expressway project is multi-lane expressway connecting I-64/I-77 at Beckley and U.S. 23 near Grundy. In West Virginia, the Coalfields Expressway will be about 65 miles long, while in Virginia, the length of the corridor will be about 50 miles.
Final bids for the Coalfields Public Private Partnership project are expected to be opened in December, with construction anticipated to begin Spring 2015.