MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — West Virginia will soon be receiving $4 billion, its share of funds from the American Rescue Plan. Rolling into the weekend, eastern panhandle residents heard about it first-hand from their U.S. Senator.
Joe Manchin briefed county and local leaders about how the funds will be distributed through a broad range of programs for small businesses, broadband development, vaccine distribution, schools, public safety and water and sewer systems. He is aware that the eastern panhandle region is somewhat different from the rest of the Mountain State.
“Truly the whole eastern panhandle — Berkeley County, Martinsburg, but also Jefferson and Morgan and all this area — has a tremendous amount of growth,” Manchin said.
Doug Smith is a senior project manager for the Thrasher Engineering Group which will work with counties and localities in putting the American Rescue funds to work on infrastructure rebuilding. The eastern panhandle, he says, is merely taking the lead for all of West Virginia.
“We continue to see this area as growth and it continues to be a catalyst for the rest of the state,” said Smith.
After meeting with community leaders in Martinsburg, Senator Manchin and State Auditor J.B. McCuskey flew to Fairmont to brief officials in the north-central region of West Virginia. Travis Blosser counsels county commissioners and city officials on putting the federal dollars to work for the state municipal league.
“I think its extremely important that Senator Manchin and Auditor McCuskey are doing these tours across the state,” said Blosser.
Keeping an eye on that $4 billion? Auditor McCuskey said his job is “to make sure this money is spent effectively and legally and transparently; and what we’re going to do is make sure that every citizen of West Virginia can make sure how this money is spent.”
Top aides to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also participated in the Martinsburg briefing to advise local officials about accessing the federal funds.