Steptoe also noted the ongoing highway projects along Corridors H and D, which were funded through Byrd appropriations.
"He's clearly the most significant and instrumental person in north-central West Virginia economic development -- ever," Steptoe said.
Steve Roberts, executive director of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, said that influence also stretches to the eastern Panhandle (the Coast Guard's National Maritime Center in Berkeley County and Customs and Border Protection's training facility in Jefferson county) to the Northern Panhandle and to Huntington and Marshall University.
Byrd also has helped numerous private companies across the state that have contracts with U.S. Department of Defense and the federal facilities that Byrd helped to create, according to economic development leaders.
Byrd recognized that West Virginia needed jobs to grow and prosper, Roberts said.
"Senator Byrd was always looking for opportunities for West Virginia," Roberts said. "He was always thinking about ways to make things happen, always thinking about economic development and job creation. He was the billion-dollar senator."
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.