Halliburton and the Coalfields Expressway

Sept. 21, 2003, Updated April 2, 2011

If one thinks Halliburton only gets fat, exclusive federal contracts, think again. The Coalfields "pork barrel" Expressway will do little for the massive poverty of Southwest, Virginia and lots for share holders at Halliburton. This almost $2 billion road project will be among the most costly in Virginia and is being built in the least populated section of Virginia. The Coalfields Expressway has been designed to run from Interstates 77 and 64 near Beckley to Virginia Route 83 in Buchanan County, VA. the Virginia phase alone will cost $2 billion.

Buchanan County according to the 2010 census has lost another 10% of its population since 2000.

On January 2006 the State of Virginia announced the following:

Richmond, Jan. 13, 2006 - Acting Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Commissioner Greg Whirley announced today that VDOT, along with its private sector partner Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR), moved to advance the Coalfields Expressway project with Pioneer Group, Inc. and Alpha Natural Resources LLC, a subsidiary of Alpha Natural Resource, Inc. Both companies, which are Southwest Virginia natural resource companies, have agreed to step forward to advance the project under the Public Private Transportation Act (PPTA).

"VDOT's agreement with Pioneer and Alpha begins the next chapter in the development of the Coalfields Expressway," said Whirley. "Building on the effective development and engineering work by KBR, Pioneer and Alpha will use coal recovery opportunities to significantly lower the cost of building the base roadbed for the project." ...The Coalfields Expressway will be a new four-lane highway stretching 51 miles from Pound in Wise County, through Dickenson and Buchanan counties. It will link with the West Virginia Coalfields Expressway near Paynesville, West Virginia. The cost estimate to build the project is $2.3 billion.

KBR is a subsidiary of Halliburton and why are we using a coal company to build a highway? They will strip mine the coal it seems on free land the taxpayer paid for. All of this has come about because private corporations can enter into partnerships with state government for lucrative contracts. In fact they lobby for these very projects to be done in the first place, then get the money to build it. And Pound already has a four-lane highway with US 23. The claim of this new highway bringing in jobs and prosperity to the poorest region of the State is already debunked by US 23 that has failed to do just that. It's about spending tax dollars and outside corporate profits.

See www.coalfieldsexpressway.com for more information. Be aware this site is operated by the State of West Virginia and they too are trying to get government money into their depressed region.

Also see the http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/bristol/coalfields_expressway.asp