GRUNDY, VA – MARCH 13, 2024 — Seven million in federal funding sought this fiscal year by the Virginia Coalfields Expressway (CFX) Authority with the assistance of Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and Congressman Morgan Griffith was included in the budget bills signed by the President recently.

The senators made the announcement noting the $7 million for the Virginia Department of Transportation will be utilized to add additional lanes – an expansion from a two-lane highway to a four-lane highway to the 2.74-mile Poplar Creek Phase A section and the 2.07-mile Poplar Creek Phase B section of US 121/460 within Corridor Q and the Coalfields Expressway in Buchanan County.

On March 11, 2024, members of the Buchanan County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to advance the approval of the 20 percent match funding required to receive the federal funding. The board voted to allocate $1.75 million in coal road funds to the project and to set the required coal road committee meeting and a public hearing for final approval of the match funds. The board voted last year to provide the match at the time the funds were being requested.

“With the $1.75 million match from Buchanan County, this will allow for the four-laning of the Coalfields Expressway from the Town of Grundy to Southern Gap, where it joins the first section already four-laned with the funds the CFX Authority obtained last year for Southern Gap to Route 609,” said Virginia CFX Authority Executive Director Jonathan Belcher. “Effectively, this now means that except for a couple miles near the Breaks, US 460/121 (CFX) will now be a four-lane from Kentucky to the Town of Grundy. 

“Without the work of the CFX Authority and our federal legislators, this would only have been a two-lane with a few truck climbing lanes,” Belcher continued. “We appreciate the work of Congressman Griffith and Senators Warner and Kaine to secure the latest round of $7 million in federal funding to continue to advance the Coalfields Expressway project in Virginia. This is a significant accomplishment for the future of Buchanan and surrounding counties on the expressway route and we look forward to continuing to work with VDOT and our local, state and federal government officials to continue to advance this project.”

As part of the Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations process, members of Congress were able to work with the communities they represent to request funding for local community projects, otherwise known as earmarks, in a manner that promotes transparency and accountability. This process allows Congress to dedicate federal funding for specific projects in Virginia. The CFX funding was part of the $148 million for community projects across the Commonwealth, federal legislators worked to secure.

The Virginia CFX project will improve road safety, reduce travel times, open the region to economic development and interstate commerce and connect the region with additional access to health care.

About the Virginia Coalfields Expressway Authority:   The Virginia Coalfields Expressway Authority was formed by the Virginia General Assembly in 2017 to improve the transportation into, from, within and through Southwest Virginia; to assist in regional economic development; and to generally enhance highway safety in the affected localities of Southwest Virginia.  The Coalfields Expressway, designated as U.S. Route 121 and a Congressional High Priority Corridor, is a proposed limited-access highway to provide a modern, safe and efficient transportation artery through the coalfields region of far Southwest Virginia and southern West Virginia.  The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority provides staff support to the authority board.