News Column

Rahall Celebrates Groundbreaking for McDowell County Water Project

August 13, 2014



KIMBALL, W.Va., Aug. 13 -- Rep. Nick Joe Rahall, D-W.Va. (3rd CD), issued the following news release:

U.S. Representative Nick J. Rahall, D-WV, spoke at groundbreaking ceremonies for the Elkhorn Regional Water project in McDowell County, championing increased federal investment to bring clean, safe water to families and businesses in small, rural communities throughout West Virginia and the Nation.

"I believe our Nation must continue making investments until we reach a time when every faucet flows as expected, with clean, clear, and drinkable water, but that takes money," said Rahall, noting that most small communities cannot generate sufficient funding to underwrite such major projects. "These kinds of infrastructure improvements create jobs during construction, often leverage private-sector investment, and help to ensure a solid foundation for future business development."

Rahall joined in celebrating the initial construction of phase one of the three-phase project to replace failing water systems throughout McDowell County. The project is supported by a $2 million federal loan and a $5.9 million federal grant - made available by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development through key infrastructure programs Rahall has defended against steep budget cuts proposed by some in Congress.

"Whether it is fighting to fund Rural Development, or working to bring our fair share of federal funding home, I put our clout, our experience that we have earned together to work. That's what a good Member of Congress does - he fights for his District and his State - no matter who is attacking him," said Rahall.

To help address long-term needs for modern water and sewer projects in Southern West Virginia, Rahall established the Southern West Virginia Infrastructure Program, tapping into the resources and expertise of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He also authored the legislation to enable Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) program funds to be used for water projects in communities affected by mining. Rahall was also successful this year in crafting a bipartisan bill that included reauthorization of the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.

"You have my pledge to keep defending the vital federal tools we need to repair and rebuild our Nation's infrastructure. The return of dividends on these prudent Federal investments in local economies and a community's quality of life are too great to do anything less," Rahall told those attending the groundbreaking.

Rahall recognized the work of the local PSD members, including Chairman Jerry Stepp and General Manager Mavis Brewster; the McDowell County Commission; USDA-Rural Development State Director Bobby Lewis; and construction company Famco, Inc., of Huntington, for making the Elkhorn project a reality.

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