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A look at Manchin and Capito earmarks for local projects, from $1.7T federal budget

MORGANTOWN — Earmarks have returned to Congress and Sens. Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin — both Appropriations Committee members — have put out their lists of West Virginia earmarks included in the recently passed $1.7 trillion Fiscal Year 2023 omnibus bill.

Capito’s earmarks total $250,950,000 and Manchin’s total $228,022,000. There is considerable overlap between their lists, as they made many of their requests jointly, but both lists include projects requested by just one or the other.

Today we take a look at the senators’ earmarks for the Monongalia-Preston-Marion area, after some brief background.


Congress suspended earmarks in 2011 because they had gained an unsavory reputation as pointless pork spending aimed at buying votes. But earmarks never actually went away, the Project on Government Oversight argues; the number was reduced while the cost for each increased and the process became far-less transparent and accountable.

In early 2011, Congress revived earmarks under a new name, Congressionally Direct Spending, for Fiscal Year 2022 (Oct. 1, 2021-Sept. 30, 2022).

The Congressional Office of Management and Budget defines earmarks (Congressionally Direct Spending) as “funds provided by the Congress for projects or programs where the congressional direction (in bill or report language) circumvents the merit-based or competitive allocation process, or specifies the location or recipient, or otherwise curtails the ability of the Administration to control critical aspects of the funds allocation process.”

John Hudak at the Brookings Institute argues that the return of earmarks is a good thing that benefits everyday Americans.

They allow lawmakers, he argues, to target funds for important projects that can solve policy problems and create jobs. And while abuses happen, the vast majority of earmarks were meant to respond to constituents’ concerns and needs.

He argues that earmarks have always composed a miniscule portion of the discretionary budget, typically less than 1%. And, echoing POGO, earmarks never disappeared, they were simply transferred to the executive branch or made more secretive within the legislative branch.

The earmarks

Joint requests have no name behind them; earmarks from one or the other include the name.

Local government projects

  • $55,000, Newburg; Newburg Dam Rehabilitation Study; feasibility study for dam safety improvements
  • $66,000, Mannington; Law Enforcement Technology Upgrades; installation of police cameras to reduce the risk and occurrence of crime
  • $4,000,000, Kingwood Water Works; WISDOM Project (Water Intelligence & Security Development for Operational Support of the Military; expands and improves water support for Camp Dawson
  • $229,000, Mannington; Water Meter Upgrades; to replace water meters at a faster rate; Manchin
  • $50,000, Farmington; Feasibility Study on Rehabilitating Abandoned Buildings; study on the uses of abandoned buildings, including their potential use for a proposed senior center; Manchin
  • $6,000,000, Morgantown; Morgantown Fire Station; builds a new fire station and training center
  • $1,000,000, Morgantown; Morgantown Municipal Airport Runway Extension; extends Runway 18-36 from 5,199 feet to 6,200 feet to provide proper safety margins for aircraft
  • $1,000,000, Historic Morgantown Post Office Building; historic building renovation to aid in revitalizing downtown; Manchin
  • $1,875,000, Grant Town; Stormwater Sewer System Improvements; Capito


  • $2,500,000, Advanced Imaging and Chemical Analysis Equipment; multi-beam scanning electron microscope, for research for advanced manufacturing, neuroscience and life science
  • $1,200,000, Hardwood Cross Laminated Timbers for Energy Efficient Modular Homes; manufacturing components for modular home design
  • $750,000, Cyber Range Sandbox for Data-Driven Security Solutions; creates a CyberRange — a specialized software and hardware facility for cybersecurity education, training and research; Manchin
  • $250,000, Extending Library and Campus Programming to the Community; upgrades library technology
  • $1,160,000, Optical Studies Equipment; a spectrometer for vision-related research

WVU Hospitals

  • $2,500,000, Chestnut Ridge Cytogenetics Laboratory; for laboratory space inside the WVU Innovation Corp. building
  • $2,434,000, Chestnut Ridge Cytology Laboratory; medical laboratory space inside the WVU Innovation Corp. building
  • $3,500,000, Chestnut Ridge Histology Laboratory; medical laboratory space inside the WVU Innovation Corp. building; Manchin
  • $3,000,000, WVU Medicine Children’s Specialty Clinic, Equipment and Buildout; constructs one level of WVUMC Hospital
  • $2,000,000, WVU Medicine Children’s Specialty Clinic, Complex Care for Adolescent/Young Adult Clinic; constructs one level of WVUMC Hospital
  • $3,500,000, WVU Medicine Children’s Specialty Clinic, Surgical Space and Equipment; constructs one level of WVUMC Hospital
  • $2,500,000, Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute Clinical Facilities; constructs a new research facility; Manchin
  • $3,000,000, Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute Interdisciplinary Innovation Workspace; constructs a new research facility

Other projects

  • $3,000,000, Mon Health Preston Memorial Hospital, Kingwood; expand and renovate Physicians Center to expand and increase specialist services
  • $350,000, Mylan Park Foundation; completes the last phase of Mylan Park Tourism Gateway project; Manchin
  • $2,000,000, WVDOH Monongalia County; I-79 Exit 155; repairs and rehabilitates exit
  • $750,000, WVNET, to buy equipment, technology and IT services to support education; Capito
  • $270,000, Fairmont State University Aviation Center for Excellence at Bridgeport; for equipment purchases; Manchin

TWEET David Beard@dbeardtdp