I will work to ensure that West Virginia receives its fair share of federal gas tax revenues. We need to end the federal government's obsession with funding big city public transportation schemes that soar over budget and deliver fewer riders. This will create a fairer distribution of money to each state and allow West Virginians to set our own priorities.
I would also support efforts to sell federal BLM lands to help fund the Highway Trust Fund, to help maintain our crucial roads and bridges.
In 2008, the Public-Private Partnership Act was passed and signed into law. The Act allowed the West Virginia Division of Highways to partner with a private company on the design and construction of otherwise public transportation facilities. This current structure, however, has limited usefulness.
Tonight, I'm proposing legislation to make the Act permanent and streamline the approval requirements to allow the Commissioner of Highways the flexibility to enter into these public-private partnerships. This will allow us to take greater advantage of this innovative tool for the construction of infrastructure.
But Manchin said states depend on the federal government for key infrastructure like roads, water and sewage lines, and broadband Internet access. Without government, he said, poor, rural states would suffer. "The free enterprise system is not going to go there. They're only going to go where the market is," Manchin said. "And for all of us to have an opportunity there has to be a partnership. The federal government and state government should be your partner, not your provider."
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