Local lawmaker wants to carefully allocate federal infrastructure money

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – With the $1.2 trillion infrastructure now law, wish lists are coming for communities for lawmakers to sort and prioritize. On WAJR’s Talk of the Town Senator from Monongalia County said prioritizing the work to be done will be a formidable, detailed task.

“Some of these roadways we have in West Virginia, you’re talking an hour and 15-minutes or an hour-and-a-half to get to work because of the condition and type of roads we have,” Beach said. “So, let’s open up West Virginia and develop these projects.”

The bill will invest $550 million in roads, bridges, broadband and water systems. West Virginia is expected to receive $6 billion.

“I don’t think we want to get bogged down in addressing all the small infrastructure problems we have in regards to potholes and stuff like that,” Beach said. “Let’s focus on the big stuff and let the state and community dollars take care of the small stuff.”

At the district level, the DOH has worked with local elected officials for years taking care of local issues. Beach wants to be sure that local input is included as the money begins to come in.

“I think legislators more so than Charleston have a better understanding of what our communities need,” Beach said. “Whether it’s water, broadband, roads or bridges and I think those agencies in West Virginia should be collecting that information.”

Clean drinking water is a problem in some areas of the state. One of the most recent problems has been reported by the Clarksburg Water Board. Officials have been testing and replacing services where need in the city. Filter systems and bottled water have distributed to the residents by the West Virginia National Guard in some cases.

“We do have a problem with lead pipes and I’m anxious to see how we can address those issues in some of our communities,” Beach said.

Beach stressed the money will come with conditions and requirements to justify uses. Compliance will be a very important part of putting the money to best use possible.

“It’s obviously broken up into different agencies- EPA, Commerce Department and the DOT,” Beach said. “They’ll have oversight into what we’re doing and that’s a good thing.”

Beach has announced he will not seek re-election in 2022. When his term ends next year, he will have served in the West Virginia Legislature for more than 21 years. He was first appointed to the House of Delegates in 1998 to fill the