February 11, 2011

Transportation Panel to Hear from WV Officials in Beckley

-Beckley First Stop on Nationwide Series of Transportation Hearings-

Beckley, W.Va. – The U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will travel to Beckley, WV, on Monday to hold a field hearing to gather information as it drafts a long-term surface transportation bill.  U.S. Representative Nick J. Rahall, top Democrat on the panel, and other Members of the Committee will lead off a national series of hearings in Beckley to hear firsthand about the transportation challenges facing the region.

“Making our first stop in my hometown of Beckley sends a strong signal about the prominent role West Virginia will play as we draft a job-creating transportation bill to keep our economy moving throughout the 21st century.  Drive along any of our Interstates or Corridor Highways in West Virginia and you can see proof-positive just how important modern roads and bridges are to enabling private-sector growth and attracting new opportunity,” said Rahall. “Crafting a new long-term surface transportation bill sooner, rather than later, must be a priority to give states and local communities the stability and predictability needed for transportation planning.”

The most recent multi-year surface transportation bill (SAFETEA-LU) expired in September 2009, and the program has continued to operate through temporary extensions.  The Committee is holding over ten public hearings and listening sessions across the country with state and local officials and transportation stakeholders to gather information from local communities to draft a new long-term reauthorization of highway, highway safety, transit, and rail programs.

Following a welcome message from Beckley Mayor Emmette Pugh, the Committee will receive oral testimony from the following witnesses:  Paul A. Mattox, Jr., P.E., Secretary, West Virginia Department of Transportation; Mike Clowser, Executive Director, Contractors Association of West Virginia; State Senator Richard Browning, Executive Director, Coalfields Expressway Authority; Mike Mitchem, Executive Director, King Coal Highway I-73/74 Authority, accompanied by Mike Whitt, Executive Director, Mingo County Redevelopment Authority; and Andrew P. Nichols, Ph.D., P.E., Program Director, Intelligent Transportation Systems, Rahall Appalachian Transportation Institute.

“The West Virginians expanding and upgrading our roads and building safer bridges are literally on the frontlines of America’s economic recovery,” said Rahall.  “These witnesses will provide expert testimony representing a diverse group of transportation stakeholder interests.  It is important that the Congress hear directly from the folks on the ground as we work to craft legislation that will create jobs and ensure that businesses are able to move goods, people, and information quickly, safely, and efficiently.”

Aside from West Virginia, the Committee will travel to the following areas to gather information for the surface transportation bill: the Philadelphia Metropolitan area; Scranton, Pennsylvania; Rochester, New York; Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis, Indiana; the Chicago Metropolitan area; Vancouver, Washington; Fresno, California; Los Angeles; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Jonesboro, Arkansas; and the Memphis Metropolitan area.

The event is free and open to the public.  Due to time constraints, oral testimony will be limited to previously invited witnesses.  Other attendees and interested parties will be able to submit written testimony for the committee record.

U.S Representative Nick J. Rahall (D-WV) and Members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

Honorable Emmett Pugh, Mayor
City of Beckley

Paul A. Mattox, Jr., P.E.
West Virginia Department of Transportation

Mike Clowser
Executive Director
Contractors Association of West Virginia

State Senator Richard Browning
Executive Director
Coalfields Expressway Authority

Mike Mitchem
Executive Director
King Coal Highway I-73/74 Authority

Accompanied by:
Mike Whitt
Executive Director
Mingo County Redevelopment Authority

Andrew P. Nichols, Ph.D, P.E.
Program Director
Intelligent Transportation Systems
Rahall Appalachian Transportation Institute

Field Hearing on Long-Term Surface Transportation Bill

Monday, February 14, 2011 at 8:00 a.m.

The Theater at Tamarack
One Tamarack Park
Beckley, West Virginia