State legislators visit Beckley as part of Coal Communities Workgroup listening tour

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — The Coal Communities Workgroup completed another stop on their listening tour at Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley.

The goal of the tour is to get feedback from residents in coal communities about how the West Virginia Legislature should spend federal funding including an incoming $38.9 billion to revitalize coal communities in Southern West Virginia. Delegate Ed Evans, D-McDowell, said the money should be used to improve and build infrastructure that will bring people back to the state.

“Southern West Virginia has a chance to bring in money that will mean infrastructure, in some areas that means clean drinking water for the first time or sewers for the first time,” Evans said.

Evans said federal funding could be life-changing for Southern West Virginia which ranked number one of the 25 coal communities identified by the federal government. He said the investment into infrastructure and the interests of the residents in the area can bring back businesses and boost the population.

“You can’t bring a business to an area that doesn’t have the facilities for that business to operate whether that be, as I mentioned the roads whether it be drinking water,” Evans said.

Raleigh County resident Wes Holden, who attended the meeting, said he wanted to make sure state legislators listen to the ideas Southern West Virginians have to offer. He believes the state should use this federal funding to boost the creation of new jobs, infrastructure, and tourism.

“We have the new river national gorge, it’s a new federal park, I think in Raleigh County we could take advantage of that, a lot of people come here,” Wes Holden said.

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