The Coalfield Expressway would run from Beckley, West Virginia to Pound, Virginia. Proposed sections are in purple. Courtesy of Wikimedia.

Here is a round-up of business (and sometimes other) briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send items for possible inclusion to

Economic impact of proposed Coalfield Expressway projected at $12.8 billion

The cumulative economic impact of the Coalfields Expressway (CFX) during a 50-year span is estimated to be $12.8 billion in 2021 dollars, according to a study of the proposed roadway presented to members of the Virginia Coalfields Expressway Authority Board, Tuesday.

The study, performed by Chmura Economics & Analytics in Richmond, was conducted at the request of the Virginia CFX Authority and the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) and built upon a prior study conducted by Chmura in 2013. What the new study found was that while 2021 estimates are that the completed roadway in Virginia will cost $3.1 billion, each dollar of investment in the CFX can result in $3.10 in economic impact in the two-state corridor during its life span, according to a release from VCEDA.

The Coalfields Expressway, designated as U.S. Route 121 and a Congressional High Priority Corridor, is a proposed limited-access highway through the coalfield region of far Southwest Virginia and southern West Virginia. Although West Virginia has completed work on some sections of the road and started work on others, Virginia has no sections of the Coalfields Expressway funded or under construction except for a shared section with U.S. 460 in Buchanan County. Furthermore, Virginia provided no mechanism to fund the Virginia Coalfields Expressway Authority when it was created in 2017 and it also remains unfunded. Virginia highways are expected to receive $7 billion from the new federal infrastructure law but those dollars are not earmarked for specific roads.

The presentation of the Chmura study was made during a meeting of the CFX Authority board in Lebanon. The study said construction of the CFX is anticipated to inject an annual average of $225.4 million in total economic impact (direct plus ripple impacts) into the local economy from 2013 through 2038. Construction, the study found, will also generate 1,543 jobs each year during that period.

The one-time economic impact of construction of the Coalfields Expressway is expected to reach $5.9 billion in the corridor by 2038, the study noted. Of this total, the study noted, $4.1 billion will be in direct construction spending that can support 26,246 cumulative jobs in the Corridor. The cumulative ripple effect (indirect plus induced) of capital investment can generate $1.8 billion in spending and 13,859 cumulative jobs in the Corridor, the study found. The cumulative direct and ripple effect of this construction spending therefore can support a grand total of 40,105 jobs, according to Chmura’s report.

In a statement from VCEDA, State Sen. Travis Hackworth, R-Tazewell County, said the Chmura study unveiled Tuesday was something legislators can now take to Richmond to plead the region’s case related to the need to fund it.

“Now that we have this report and an ROI (return on investment), we can show it brings a lot of economic benefits to the area,” Hackworth said. “This will take a joint effort of state, local and federal officials.”

Members of the Virginia Coalfields Expressway Authority Board met Tuesday in Lebanon. Pictured, from left (front), are Jonathan Belcher, Virginia CFX Authority executive director; Ron Peters, representing Josh Evans, who was not able to attend Tuesday’s meeting; Jay Rife, chairman; J.H. Rivers; and Melanie Salyer; and (back) Keith Viers; Scott Mullins; Ed Talbott; John Schoolcraft; and James Keen. Not pictured are Mike Yates, Bonnie Bates and Drew Keene.

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Hospitals in Roanoke and South Hill recognized by U.S. News & World Report for maternity care

Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital and VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill have been recognized as High Performing in Maternity Care (Uncomplicated Pregnancy) by U.S. News & World Report. This is the first time U.S. News has published a list of Best Hospitals for Maternity.

To be recognized among the Best Hospitals for Maternity, hospitals had to excel on multiple quality metrics that matter to expectant families, including complication rates, C-sections, whether births were scheduled too early in pregnancy, and how successfully each hospital supported breastfeeding.

Only one-third of the hospitals evaluated by U.S. News for maternity care earned a ‘High Performing’ rating, the highest rating U.S. News awards for that type of care. These were the only hospitals in Southwest and Southside recognized. (Full disclosure: Carilion is one of our donors; under our rules, donors have no influence on editorial decisions).

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Infrastructure law includes money for transit systems in Bristol, Blacksburg, Roanoke and Lynchburg

Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, both D-Virginia, have announced how much money the new infrastructure law includes for public transit systems in Southwest and Southside:

Blacksburg, VA: $18,442,213

Bristol, VA – Bristol TN: $7,893,935

Charlottesville, VA: $19,185,122

Fredericksburg, VA: $20,992,768

Harrisonburg, VA:  $14,476,058

Kingsport, TN-VA: $11,780,158

Lynchburg, VA: $18,976,348

Richmond, VA: $104,922,587

Roanoke, VA: $22,258,920

Staunton-Waynesboro, VA: $6,770,544

Virginia Beach, VA: $176,559,982

Washington, DC-VA-MD: $2,742,614,626

 Williamsburg, VA: $14,401,113

Winchester, VA: $8,736,841