Highway commission discusses road funding gap
October 19, 2012 ·
The second meeting of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways may have left some of its 24 members less than hopeful today. The WV Department of Transportation tried to inform them of what the state really needs to improve its highway system.
The commission heard multiple presentations from
representatives of the State Department of Transportation this morning filling
members in on thecondition of West Virginia’s roads. Department Secretary Paul Mattox told the
commission members the department needs an addition $400 million in
funding each year just to maintain the condition of the current highway system.
Should improvements, like road widening, bridge construction or the addition of
highway miles, need to be made, the department would need an additional one
billion dollars per year to meet the current funding gap. The commission is
responsible for coming up with ideas to meet this funding deficit.
"That is the goal of the commission, number one,
is to figure out what type of program do the citizens of WV want," Mattox said.
"Do they want to just take care of the existing
system as is without building additional 4 lane highways or additional capacity
or do we want to not only maintain the system as is, but make improvements to
the system and build additional highways.
"Maybe the citizens of this state
can’t afford an additional $1 billion per year for highway construction. Maybe
it’s a number smaller than that. That’s what the commission is challenged to do
is what goal do we set then how do we come up with the revenues to meet those
goals to satisfy the need of the citizens."
The commission will hold multiple public
hearings throughout the state in order to gauge citizen opinion on how to raise
the additional funds. The schedule for those hearings is still in the works,
but Mattox says they’ll be advertised through local media outlets.