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Parts of Putnam to be grouped with Huntington region

WINFIELD, W.Va. -- Putnam County commissioners said Tuesday they're frustrated that some of the county's busiest areas will now be grouped with Huntington, rather than Charleston, when it comes to transportation studies and possible funding.

Mark Felton, executive director of the Regional Intergovernmental Council told commissioners Tuesday that 2010 U.S. census numbers changed the organization of urbanized boundaries.

Before the latest census, all of Putnam County was grouped with the Charleston-based transportation council, which serves as the Metropolitan Planning Organization for Kanawha and Putnam counties and coordinates the development of transportation plans.

Now, Hurricane, Teays Valley, Scott Depot and other areas along Interstate 64 in Putnam County will be included with the Huntington area, under the Kyova Interstate Planning Commission.

"It doesn't make sense to us to be included in Huntington's planning, because our traffic flows toward Charleston," said County Manager Brian Donat.

Putnam County doesn't have any representation on the Kyova council, commissioners were told.

"I don't like seeing Putnam County divided up between two areas," said Commissioner Joe Haynes. "Do we have any say?"

"That's how it is," Felton said. "It's a unique situation to be moved to another urban area."

Commissioner Gary Tillis said Putnam officials should find out more information about the new tri-state commission and figure out how to get representation.

Because Huntington's urban boundary is now made up of 200,000 people, an estimated $4 million of federal money could be allotted to the area. However, commissioners fear that without representation Putnam could be skipped over when it comes to disbursing funds.

"We need to find out how to get representation and get some of that money," Tillis said.

Reach Kate White at kate.white@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.


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