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State budget includes funding for projects in western Virginia

Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 7:22 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - For many lawmakers like Sen. David Suetterlein (R-Roanoke Co.), returning money to taxpayers topped the list of 2022 budget priorities.

“Probably the most important and the most far-reaching is the tax relief being offered,” Suetterlein said in a recent interview.

But the budget bill lawmakers hope to finalize Friday also includes substantial spending that will benefit programs, projects and cultural organizations in western Virginia.

The two-year spending plan includes $500,000 for the Virginia Museum of Transportation.

“So that’s a first step,” Sen. John Edwards (D-Roanoke) told members of the Roanoke Kiwanis Club Wednesday, “and I hope in the future we can make it a state agency.”

More than $15 million will help fund a new lab for biotech startups in Roanoke.

“What you need is for certain companies that are getting off the ground; to incubate they actually need laboratory space,” said Del. Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke).

And there are millions for a museum in Fincastle, a rails-to-trails project in northern Botetourt County, to pay off loans for land acquisition at Natural Bridge State Park and to complete the Green Pastures recreation area in Alleghany County.

“$5 million to complete that project, which was a minority-based park back in the ‘60s there, that we really need to bring back to life,” said Del. Terry Austin (R-Botetourt Co.). “A beautiful facility and I’m glad to see we’ve got $5 million there for that.”

And there’s more. The budget has a provision that will use a small portion of the proceeds from pari-mutuel betting to provide a funding stream for the Virginia Horse Center in Rockbridge County.

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