CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice today announced that, less than two months after calling a Special Session of the West Virginia Legislature to secure $250 million for the newly established Economic Enhancement Grant Fund, the program’s first grant recipients have been awarded a combined $12.8 million for a trio of water and wastewater infrastructure projects across the state.
“This is something that I wanted to move on quickly, and that’s exactly what we’ve done,” Gov. Justice said. “We all know that we still have places in West Virginia where water and sewer access isn’t as reliable as it should be. It’s an issue that our people have dealt with for decades – long before I walked in the door as Governor.
“So when the time came to fund the Economic Enhancement Grant program, I said we had to act fast,” Gov. Justice continued. “I thank the Legislature for their votes to create the program and to provide $250 million in funding for this incredibly important cause, but we couldn’t afford to stop there. People are depending on us to move. So we’re moving and getting the money out to help people right now.”
The Economic Enhancement Grant Fund is managed by the West Virginia Water Development Authority (WDA). Working together with the West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council and the West Virginia Department of Economic Development, the fund will provide matching grants to municipalities for use in upgrading infrastructure such as water and sewer systems.
“I want to thank the municipalities receiving this round of funds. It’s truly been a collaborative effort,” Gov. Justice said. “They didn’t just come looking for a handout. They exhausted all other potential funding sources and came to us as a last resort. Some of these projects would have been dead in the water without this funding.
“They’re also doing their own work on engineering and other technical aspects of these projects, so we appreciate all they’re doing to hold up their end of things,” Gov. Justice continued. “And, of course, I also want to thank the Legislature for their support of this important program time and time again.”
Funds were awarded to the following:
City of Lewisburg
The WDA has approved a $7.586 million grant to the City of Lewisburg in Greenbrier County to improve its water system. The water system is a regional water supplier in Greenbrier County and serves approximately 12,000 people in Lewisburg, Ronceverte, Renick, Frankford, Maxwelton, Fairlea, and Caldwell. In total, this is a $63.468 million project. Without this funding, its bids would expire this month.
City of Ripley
The WDA has approved a $3.433 million grant to the City of Ripley in Jackson County to start construction on a wastewater treatment plant that will serve Ripley and the community of Evans. It will also allow the City of Ripley to permit new customers. The grant completes the funding for Ripley’s $31.158 million project.
City of Richwood
The WDA has approved a $1.854 million grant to the City of Richwood in Nicholas County for its Hinkle Mountain/Little Laurel water extension project. The $12.129 million project includes upgrades to the city's water plant and an extension of water service to 118 customers.
Gov. Justice serves as chairman of the WDA Board, with Deputy Chief of Staff Ann Urling serving as his designee. For more information, visit wvwda.org.