Portman, Manchin Announce Finish the ADHS Act Included in Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation

August 3, 2021 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced that their bipartisan Finish the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS) Act has been included as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the end result of bipartisan infrastructure negotiations they have both played a crucial role in over the past three months. Finish the ADHS Act would provide $1.25 billion in dedicated funding over five years for the network of transportation corridors across Appalachia for the first time since 2012. Ohio stands to receive $95 million in funding through this legislation.

“Since its creation in 1965, the Appalachian Development Highway System has created thousands of miles of highway, creating jobs and bringing important economic development to rural parts of Ohio and the rest of Appalachia. Unfortunately, the portion that remains incomplete is difficult to build and expensive,” said Senator Portman. “I am pleased that this legislation is included in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, so that the System may finally be completed and hard-to-reach places in Appalachia are no longer hard to reach.”

“In 1965, Congress authorized the creation of the Appalachian Development Highway System to bring commerce and opportunity to our region. Since I served as Governor of West Virginia, I have worked hard to complete Corridor H, our last remaining section of the ADHS, but we can’t do it on our own. And it’s clear that West Virginia roads and bridges, which rank as some of the worst in the nation, need a significant investment,” said Senator Manchin. “Our bipartisan bill will maintain the commitment President Kennedy made to Appalachia so long ago, and I’m pleased this language has been included in the bipartisan infrastructure agreement. This investment will provide $1.25 billion, including nearly $200 million for Corridor H, to connect West Virginia and the region with the rest of the nation.”

The ADHS was signed into law in 1965 by President Johnson to build 3,090 miles of highway. As of FY 2021, 91.1 percent of the system is under construction or open to traffic, with only 276 miles left to go. According to the ARC, the full cost of completion for the ADHS is roughly $9.7 billion. Its completion would create 47,000 jobs and facilitate billions more in goods and services throughout Appalachia. Every $1 invested in the ADHS yields an estimated return of $7.10.

Since its inception in 1965, the ADHS has generally received specifically dedicated funding for its construction from Congress on a yearly basis. However, in 2012, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and its successor, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, no longer provided dedicated ADHS funds to States’ Departments of Transportation, and many projects languished. The purpose of ADHS was to build in isolated areas in Appalachia – places that were difficult, expensive, and hard to reach. Dedicated federal funding is the only viable solution to finishing the last few portions of this critical network