Charleston Secures U.S. DOT RAISE Grant to Initiate Major Transportation Upgrade

Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin announced today the U.S. Department of Transportation will award the City of Charleston a $1.75 million RAISE (Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure for Sustainability and Equity) Grant to get a transformational infrastructure project in Charleston shovel-ready.

The City, in partnership with the WV Department of Transportation, will use the RAISE Grant for the Charleston Capital Connector Project to transform the Kanawha Boulevard corridor along the riverfront, and better connect the Greenbrier Street gateway to the community. The Capital Connector Project will enhance safety, pedestrian and bicyclist accessibility, transit access, transportation efficiency and streetscaping along Kanawha Boulevard from Magic Island to the 35th Street Bridge. It would also upgrade Greenbrier Street from Kanawha Boulevard to Washington Street.  The project also includes improved walkability and bike-ability for the Southside Bridge and 35th Street Bridge.

“The City of Charleston has been actively seeking federal funding to help with key infrastructure projects in our Capital City,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “The Charleston Capital Connector Project will increase mobility in some of our most-trafficked areas, and better connect the West Side to Downtown and the East End, while also improving safety. We appreciate the support from our congressional delegation, the State of West Virginia, Kanawha County and many local partners.”

The City of Charleston received strong support for the RAISE Grant application from both Senator Joe Manchin and Senator Shelley Moore Capito.

“We are very fortunate in West Virginia to have two amazing United States Senators who work tirelessly to help each and every one of our communities,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “We are extremely thankful to both Senator Manchin and Senator Capito for their support on this project. We would not have received this amazing opportunity without their hard work.”

“Residents of Charleston and Kanawha County know how important both the Kanawha Boulevard East and Greenbrier Street corridors are to accessing various parts of the city. That is why I personally advocated for the necessary resources to complete this vital project. Investments into our roads, bridges, and core infrastructure can help modernize our cities, spur economic development, and make travel far more efficient and safer. Projects like this were top of mind as I helped craft the bipartisan infrastructure package and will continue to be a primary focus through my work as Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee,” said Senator Capito said in a statement released last Thursday.

“Investing in infrastructure projects across West Virginia will have a monumental impact on our communities and local economies. For months, I have been advocating for the Charleston Capital Connector Project, which will upgrade and improve the Kanawha Boulevard corridor and Greenbrier Street gateway. In October, I called Department of Transportation Secretary Buttigieg and urged him to make this project a reality, and I’m pleased DOT heeded my request to improve our capital city. As we work to put the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill into action, I will continue to advocate for infrastructure projects across the Mountain State,” Senator Manchin said in a statement released last Thursday.

Governor Jim Justice, the West Virginia Department of Transportation and the West Virginia Division of the Federal Highway Administration were also instrumental in the City of Charleston receiving this award.

The City of Charleston is the only 2021 recipient in the State of West Virginia for the highly competitive U.S. DOT RAISE grant.  Many officials have advocated for upgrades to Kanawha Boulevard and Greenbrier Street for more than a generation, but the project has never been kick-started, until now. 

The Goodwin Administration is confident it will be able to make use of new resources in the newly passed, U.S. Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, to secure the funding needed to construct and put the project plans and specs into action.

“When Secretary Pete Buttigieg called me to congratulation Charleston on receiving this grant, we discussed several ways to ensure this project gets completed in the near future and is not just another plan that sits on a shelf and collects dust,” said Mayor Goodwin. “We are in an unprecedented time where cities will be given direct access to the funding and resources necessary to improve their communities and the Capital Connector Project will be one of our top priorities in the coming years,” Goodwin added.

Several community partners provided letters of support to help the City of Charleston secure this RAISE grant funding including the Kanawha County Commission, Charleston Area Alliance, Charleston Main Streets, Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Kanawha City Community Association, The Mountain State Wheelers Bicycle Club, the Regional Intergovernmental Council, The United Way and West Virginia Connecting Communities.