SW Virginia lawmakers call out McAuliffe for no action on Coalfields Expressway

(2017 / WCYB)

Far Southwest Virginia's five lawmakers took Gov. Terry McAuliffe to task on Friday, criticizing the administration's lack of action on a funding request that would aid the Coalfields Expressway.

A joint statement issued by Senators Bill Carrico and Ben Chafin and Delegates Terry Kilgore, Todd Pillion and Israel O'Quinn said the lawmakers were disappointed to learn from state transportation officials that a request for federal funds to construct the four-lane project have not been submitted by McAuliffe's office.

The deadline to file for a Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant is three weeks away and Carrico, a Senate Transportation Committee member, noted that his initial inquiry about the filing has gone unanswered by the governor's office.

"We cannot allow the Coalfield's Expressway and Southwest Virginia to continue being underfunded and overlooked," the statement said.

The Virginia General Assembly passed a bill carried by Pillion that created an authority for the expressway project that would help collect federal dollars to help construct Dickenson County's first four-lane highway along with creating new jobs and businesses.

The Coalfields Expressway has been on the agenda of Southwest Virginia lawmakers for decades and would create a corridor that extends in Wise and Dickenson counties and link to an existing roadway in West Virginia.

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