CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The single most important political issue for West Virginia's economic future is how to create more jobs. Sustainable jobs with long-term benefits that diversify the state's economy.
And as with most economic development initiatives it begins with an investment in infrastructure.
Corridor H is easily the most important infrastructure project in the state and, when completed, will result in our greatest return on investment.
Unfortunately, Corridor H has long been labeled a pork-barrel project nationally with virtually no politically defensible reason to exist when viewed from that perspective.
But recasting Corridor H's political image can and should be a top priority for West Virginia's congressional delegation.
It begins by making the case for funding its completion as Interstate 66 under the auspices of Homeland Security as a planned evacuation route for Washington and Northern Virginia.
As background, Interstate 66 was originally proposed as a futuristic east-west intermodal transportation system designed to channel commerce along a central passageway that would span the nation and include high-speed rail service.
Dubbed the I-66 Transcontinental Corridor, its rail component was later found to be cost-prohibitive; however, the highway portion of the project was deemed to be feasible, albeit with a more limited scope.
Today, I-66 already has been built from Washington to very near West Virginia at the junction of Interstate 81, a heavily congested north-south artery for commercial trucking.
And the Commonwealth of Virginia did build an intermodal facility at this junction where rail- and highway-borne commerce meet to form competitive advantages based on logistical economies associated with the supply chain.