CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia's Democratic members of Congress announced seven new highway and scenic byway improvement projects in the state Friday.
The projects will get more than $2.2 million in funding from passage of the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012.
Rep. Nick Rahall, top Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said, "Our scenic byways help bind important sectors of our growing tourism industry to promote small business jobs.
"As we connect our historical, cultural, and natural resources, we make it easier for people to plan fuller, longer vacation stays in Almost Heaven," Rahall said.
The improvements will benefit the Boy Scouts of America, who are planning their 10-day 2013 National Jamboree in Fayette County, an event expected to attract 40,000 Boy Scouts and thousands of tourists. The group's new reserve is between the towns of Glen Jean, Prince and Mount Hope.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, said, "Upgrading roads and highways is essential to guaranteeing that people are safe when driving, enabling communities and small businesses to grow, and encouraging tourism in our state."
Sen. Joe Manchin said, "By investing in our highways, railroads, bridges, as well as water and sewer systems, not only can we create good American jobs, but we can lay the foundation for economic growth for tomorrow."
Among other projects funded by the new legislation:
• The Elk River Scenic Byway will get $16,000 to design, purchase and install about 40 signs to promote safe travel.
• The Sistersville Ferry Vessel and Landing Improvement project was awarded $45,600 to make dock improvements and replace the vessel navigation system.
• U.S. 60 near Charleston will get $400,000 for safety improvements, including repaving parts of the road.
• A new truck parking project in Nitro near Interstate 64 will get $300,000 to add new parking spaces.
• Clarksburg will get $1 million to help repair, widen and realign South Chestnut Street.• The area near the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge will get $480,000 to reconstruct a 1.5-mile section of road and create an overlook with informational and interpretive kiosks to help guide visitors to local trails.