Rahall: New River Gorge Stamp is Postal Service’s ‘Stamp of Approval’ on Region’s Federal Partnership for Jobs

From a Rep. Nick Rahall Release
Rahall: New River Gorge Stamp is Postal Service’s ‘Stamp of Approval’ on Region’s Federal Partnership for Jobs
Fayetteville, WV (HNN) — U.S. Representative Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) on Monday, April 11 celebrated a new $4.95 postage stamp depicting the New River Gorge Bridge and credited the New River Gorge federal partnership as a catalyst for jobs and economic growth.

“This little stamp is a big deal; it’s a huge stamp of approval on our region, our state, and our people,” said Rahall.  “The time and talents of our local leaders, entrepreneurs, planners, and doers have worked steadily to make sure the rest of the world knows the New River Gorge Bridge’s proper place among our national pantheon of architectural accomplishments.”

At the “First Day of Issue” ceremony he helped to arrange, Rahall noted the stamp appropriately memorializes the New River Gorge region’s federal partnership.

“Funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Appalachian Regional Commission, complemented and enhanced in so many ways by the National Park Service, enshrined in silver by the U.S. Mint – the bridge, our bridge – is now commemorated with a handsome and useful postage stamp,” said Rahall, taking on the naysayers who continually decry all federal spending as wasteful.  “Government can work, can serve, and be a good partner.  Today is a culmination of such a federal partnership.”

Working with the National Park Service, Rahall helped to create the largest system of federally protected rivers east of the Mississippi River, and has been an advocate for the Appalachian Development Highway System and the enhancement of U.S. Route 19 (Corridor L).  Together, these initiatives have served to bolster the development of a thriving tourism industry in the region.

Rahall, a strong advocate for reauthorizing a multiyear federal transportation bill, argued that infrastructure, like bridges, address essential local and national transportation needs while also serving as economic engines.

Rahall serves as the top Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Rahall spoke at today’s ceremony, which was held at the Canyon Rim Visitors Center at the New River Gorge National River.  Below are Rahall’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

Remarks by

U.S. Representative Nick J. Rahall, II

First Day Sale of New River Gorge Bridge Stamp

New River Gorge National River Canyon Rim Visitor Center

162 Visitor Center Road; Lansing, WV 25862

The Postal Service and West Virginia bridges have not enjoyed the best headlines of late.

Today, however, we congratulate the Postal Service first, on agreeing to my request that we hold this event here, and secondly, we congratulate them on consolidating the wisdom of the Citizens Stamp Advisory Commission with the visual AND structural strength – and I have confirmed that strength with the Department of Transportation – of the New River Bridge.

In the history of the World, suffice it to say, it has been hit or miss when it comes to man’s feeble attempts to do justice to spanning one of the Almighty’s personal works.

But, anyone who has rafted or canoed or kayaked beneath the New River George Bridge has looked toward the heavens with admiration at man’s crowning glory to the Lord’s majestic and meticulous handiwork here in the Gorge.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Appalachian Regional Commission, complemented and enhanced in so many ways by the National Park Service, enshrined in silver by the U.S. Mint, the bridge, our bridge, is now commemorated with a handsome and useful postage stamp.

Why all the federal fuss?  Sometimes, despite some of my Congressional colleague’s claims to the contrary, the feds get it right.  Government can work, can serve, and be a good partner.

Today is a culmination of such a federal partnership.

In the big picture, laying foundations on which communities can build and families thrive and prosper is, after all, the proper role and aim of good government.

That’s why I fought for federal protection of the New and the Gauley and today, we enjoy the largest federally protected system of rivers east of the Mississippi.

That’s why thirty-four years ago when the good people of southern West Virginia first sent me to Congress, I sought a seat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and now I am the top Democrat there.

That’s why I’m fighting for a multi-year major transportation bill to fix West Virginia’s and this Nation’s system of highways and bridges.

And that’s why this little stamp is a big deal.  It’s a huge stamp of approval on our region, our state and our people.

What locals view as our 45-second wonder, visitors marvel at as a national icon.

From the Brooklyn Bridge to the Golden Gate, bridges have long served as local workhorses and international show horses.

The time and talents of our local leaders, entrepreneurs, planners and doers have worked steadily to make sure the rest of the World know the New River Gorge Bridge’s proper place among our national pantheon of architectural accomplishments.

And while our bridge doesn’t connect the hub-bub of a metropolis or bring to mind a song about leaving our heart here, or any catchy song for that matter, ‘cause Route 19 sure isn’t “Country Roads,” there is poetry here.  You witness it every time you are here.

We have to protect that poetry with the same gusto with which we promote it, to make sure future generations enjoy and respect this crossroads of man and nature’s God.

The continuing federal partnership is a sound insurance policy to make sure of it.  And we thank everyone who has worked and will work to make it so.

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