Portman, Manchin’s Finish the ADHS Act Signed into Law as Part of Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act

November 15, 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 signed into law as part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The IIJA recently passed the House in a vote of 228-206, having previously passed the Senate in August in a vote of 69-30. Finish the ADHS Act is set to provide $1.25 billion in dedicated funding over five years for the network of transportation corridors across Appalachia for the first time since 2012. The Federal Highway Administration has confirmed that Ohio stands to receive $95.2 million in funding through this legislation.

“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. A portion of the system remains incomplete because it is difficult to build and expensive,” said Senator Portman. “I am pleased that we are one step closer to finishing the system now that the President has signed the bipartisan infrastructure bill into law.”

“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. The bipartisan infrastructure bill will maintain the commitment President Kennedy made to Appalachia so long ago, and I’m pleased this language has been included in the final bipartisan infrastructure bill. 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.