WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJHL) – The Biden administration announced a $1.2 billion investment into Appalachian infrastructure across 11 states Tuesday in cooperation with the Department of Transportation (DOT), with close to $35 million earmarked for Tennessee and Virginia this year.
According to a release from the Department of Transportation, the contribution will increase funds for the Appalachian Development Highway System by 146% compared to the previous fiscal year. Over the next five years, the bill will provide more than $1.2 billion to states within the system, and fiscal year 2022 will see $246 million distributed for use.
Below is a state-by-state breakdown of the funds:
“From big cities to small town, every American community deserves reliable access to our transportation system,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “Thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we now have historic resources to improve transportation and create jobs for people in Appalachia, and around the country.”
The Appalachian Development Highway System has been under construction since 1965, the release reads, and was started to connect rural communities to commercially valuable interstates that cut through the region. The system is made up of 33 corridors covering roughly 3,000 miles, and as of publishing is considered 85% complete. The projected finish date is set in 2040.
The release offers a breakdown of funds provided to each state in FY2022, with $14,730,576 marked for Tennessee and $19,962,161 marked for Virginia. Out of the states listed, Alabama can expect the largest amount of funding at $73,875,000. West Virginia will also receive $37,335,171 in funds for the year.
Federal Highway Administration officials also plan to work closely with Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) plans for the area, as they have maintained a high-priority focus on the ADHS.
“Since ARC’s founding in 1965, one of its first priorities was to coordinate construction of a highway system that would provide improved access to all that the region has to offer,” ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin said. “Thanks to funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we’re moving closer to completing the Appalachian Development Highway System to better connect businesses within the region to domestic and international markets. In addition, it is providing residents with safe and reliable access to jobs, education, health care, social services, and recreation.”