Last updated: July 17. 2013 1:21PM - 294 Views

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Chad Abshire

Staff Writer

JENNIES CREEK — U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall (D-W.Va.) Thursday stressed the importance of infrastructure and federal investments in clean water during a ceremony marking the completion of two water extension projects in Mingo County.

“In the next few weeks you will be hearing about the so-called fiscal cliff,” Rahall said. “Unfortunately, there are far too many shortsighted calls for cutting federal funds for bread and butter projects like our waterline extensions.”

In February 2010, the Mingo County Public Service District was awarded more than $4.3 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development for the Jennies Creek Waterline Extension Project, which will bring water and fire protection services to approximately 170 households along Jennies Creek and Breeden Creek. An additional 15 households will also be served within the Stonewall District of Wayne County.

It was also announced in April 2010 that the USDA would provide more than $1.3 million in funding, along with $1.25 million from the Appalachian Regional Commission, for the Marrowbone Creek Waterline Extension Project, which would bring water and fire protection services to approximately 98 families along Marrowbone Creek and several of its tributaries.

“Agencies like USDA Rural Development and the Appalachian Regional Commission – the two federal agencies funding this water extension project – are being targeted for budget cuts,” Rahall said. “Plans to expand the King Coal Highway or finish Mingo County’s airport hangar and terminal buildings are also under threat because of budget proposals that put the burden of cuts on infrastructure investments in regions like ours.”

Rahall commended the determination and resolve of the community to advance infrastructure building as investments that greatly improve the region’s position in a growing economy.

The congressman said that the “golden key to creating jobs is exactly what you have been doing to unlock the County’s potential infrastructure development.”

“At a time when we are trying to put people to work, and we have broken infrastructure, fixing it seems like a pretty darn obvious answer to both problems. Just think about what the taxpayer gets with all the returns we receive by investing in clean drinkable water,” Rahall said. “These projects are essential to good health, higher property values, lower fire insurance rates and lower unemployment and, in the end, a higher quality of life for neighborhoods and communities in general.

“When we grow our economy with projects like Marrowbone and Jennies Creek, we create jobs, shrink the deficit and help balance the budget. And you can be sure, I darn well know what all that and clean water mean to the 300 plus families these projects will serve,” Rahall said.

“That’s the message we have to get through some thick-headed people in Washington.”

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