Justice awards $7.4 million for trails, alternative transportation

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Justice awards $7.4 million for trails, alternative transportation
Walkable communities in West Virginia are getting a boost, thanks to a new round of grants. (Photo: Matthew LeJune)

Towns and cities in 27 counties across West Virginia are being provided with funds to build and improve sidewalks, lighting, and rail trails.

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West Virginia Governor Jim Justice and West Virginia Department of Transportation Secretary Byrd White awarded 38 Transportation Alternatives and Recreational Trails Program grants worth $7,414,975 in total.

The governor emphasized the economic and quality-of-life benefits of the improvements in announcing the grants.

“This is more than $7 million that is going to go toward making it easier for people all over West Virginia to get around and will also go toward making our beautiful park trails even better,” Justice said.

“Even though we’ve been apart for a while, we’re doing everything in our power to make our state’s transportation infrastructure better and better, and that’s exactly what this funding is going to do.”

The West Virginia Transportation Alternatives and Recreational Trails Program is administered by the WVDOT and funded by the Federal Highway Administration.

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Secretary White spoke to the broad benefits of grant projects, which range from upgrades for wheelchair accessibility to expanded trail systems.

“This funding is going to allow so many great projects to happen all over the state,”  White said.

“We’ll see a bunch of projects to make our sidewalks ADA-compliant so people of all abilities will be able to use our sidewalks. We are adding to our trail systems.

"It’s really just good for us all the way around, and I really want to thank Governor Justice for his leadership and his commitment to transportation in West Virginia that’s making all of this possible.

White expressed his gratefulness for the governor's attention to the state's transportation infrastructure.

“Today, West Virginia has a total of over $3-billion-worth of transportation contracts in progress,” he said.

“Without Governor Justice, we wouldn’t have anywhere near that, and I just thank him over and over again for all he’s done.”


Bethany's Parkinson Forest added to old-growth network

Old Main at Bethany University

The Parkinson Forest at Bethany College has been added to the national Old-Growth Forest Network—the eleventh site in West Virginia to be included and the first in the state's northern panhandle. Joan Maloof, Ph.D., founder of the Old-Growth Forest Network, said the forest north of the school's Old Main was ideally suited to the network.

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