BRIDGEPORT, WV – Gov. Jim Justice announced today that he has requested $20 million needed for work to take off on a historic infrastructure project at North Central West Virginia Airport in Bridgeport, to enhance the airport itself, while also developing sections of nearby land.
“I couldn’t be any more excited about any project, anywhere in the state,” Gov. Justice said. “This will bring thousands and thousands more people to an area that’s already flourishing like crazy and this, right here, is going to do unbelievable things in the future for our great state.”
The Governor made the announcement during a celebratory event at the airport Tuesday afternoon, along with leaders from Harrison and Marion counties, Bridgeport, and the other 20-plus regional partners that work and fly out of the airport every day.
“This is such an unbelievable day. This is the kind of day that a business guy dreams of,” Gov. Justice said. “This project was brought right in my office, by a lot of individuals, and they sat down and said, ‘Governor, here is what we think we can do and we would love to be able to have your participation and we can start this project.’”
The master plan for the overall infrastructure project consists of several phases of work.
The first phase calls for excavation work to build a fresh site for a new terminal that will be located directly off I-279. The terminal will include two jetways and ample parking facilities. It will accommodate any size and type airplane the runway can handle.
The second phase calls for the creation of approximately 50 additional acres of airport space, with direct taxiway access to the airport’s 7,800-foot runway. This will be used for commercial and industrial use.
The third phase calls for the final development of airport property, which will not be accessible to the runway, for additional commercial and industrial use. This will maximize the developable land between I-279 and Route 50 in Harrison County.
“It’s a plan to maximize the potential of the airport,” Gov. Justice said. “Every community’s growth starts with the airport, that’s all there is to it.”
Additional developments going on around the airport include the construction of Benedum Logistics Park, located at the intersection of Route 50 and Route 76 East, as well as the proposed Harrison County Industrial Park, which, when built, would be located on Aviation Way.
“As a business guy, I’ve had lots of opportunities to look at lots of different things,” Gov. Justice said. “This jumped on me faster than anything ever has. It’s just that good.”
For funding, the Governor has requested $10 million from the West Virginia Infrastructure Jobs Development Council to go toward jump-starting the plan. The Department of Commerce will formally request the funds from the IJDC – a body created by the West Virginia Legislature to manage and facilitate funding for infrastructure and other projects – on the Governor’s behalf.
Leaders with the IJDC will review the request and give final approval before the funds can be officially transferred for use on the project.
Gov. Justice has also requested an additional $10 million in the form of a loan from the West Virginia Economic Development Administration. The review process for this request is ongoing as well.
Once secured, these funds would allow for work on this major infrastructure project – with a total price tag of $70 million – to get underway.
“You’re going to have 100 acres of level land within a rock’s throw of the airport and the interstate,” Gov. Justice said. “We want you to be a gateway to our state and I’ll be your number one cheerleader because this is going to be spectacular beyond belief.”