Roads, jobs packages receive overwhelming support

Roads and jobs focus of special legislative session
Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 7:36 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- West Virginia lawmakers made quick work on two items crucial to the state -- a roads package and a new program that could bring numerous jobs to Jackson County.

The House and Senate each approved both packages Monday afternoon and evening. Each measure passed with overwhelming support. The items now head to Gov. Jim Justice’s desk for his approval.

First, the state Senate estimates the roads package will allow the state to pave more than 2,000 miles of secondary roadways. The projects will be spread across West Virginia. Lawmakers will pay for that with $150 million from last year’s surplus.

The second item is all about jobs, specifically jobs in Jackson County. The legislation will allow a yet-to-be-named company to generate its own power and and re-sell that electricity to other companies onsite. Supporters say it tees up a major economic announcement set for Tuesday

“It means more jobs,” said Sen. Amy Grady, R-Mason. “It means more jobs, and it means job security. It means more people moving into the area. It means a lot of economic development coming to Jackson County.”

“This is a big opportunity for West Virginia to attract brand new businesses,” said Delegate Jonathan Pinson, R-Mason. “It’s a big opportunity for Jackson County and Ravenswood to continue to see economic growth. Some of these announcements have been made over the course of the past several months dating back to the great announcement surrounding NuCor and here we find ourselves on the cusp of a NuCor-level announcement.”

But not everyone sees it that way.

Logan County Sen. Rupie Phillips, R, voted no -- the only senator to do so. His reason involved the project’s focus on renewable energy.

”I’m just not willing to budge,” Phillips said. “I am tired of the green energy sector ruling everything, and across the country they’ll sit and tell you, ‘if it’s not for fossil fuel, they can’t make it.’ coal has been the savior, but yet we get beat up.”

Both the House and Senate adjourned Monday evening.