West Virginia’s country roads are in an expensive mess.

“The revenue we have to work with continues to shrink,” said state Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox. “However, our costs continue to increase.”

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways recently delivered figures to the department about what it would cost to maintain West Virginia’s roads and bridges at their current level.  The commission also studied what the price tag would be for future road improvements.

“One-point-1-3 billion dollars roughly in additional highway funds have been recommended to the revenue subcommittee for their consideration,” said Mattox.

Where the money comes from is anybody’s guess at this point.  Mattox says federal highway funding is rapidly drying up.  He projects it will lose up to $35 million over the life of the current federal highway legislation.   State funding for roads and bridges in recent years has been stagnant.  Mattox says the projection is it will fall off over the next six years as well.

As the money supply deteriorates so do the roads.

“People are seeing the condition of the roads and there is a need to invest in our highway infrastructure,” said Mattox. “I believe the tide is starting to change.”

Taxpayers have been fiercely resistant to any kind of tax increases, particularly if it adds to the cost of fuel.   Mattox says the money needs to come from somewhere and it won’t be an easy solution when it happens.

West Virginia isn’t the only state in a difficult spot.  Mattox says Michigan’s governor recently advocated an additional $1.4 billion a year for his state’s roads.  Wyoming recently studied its highway funding and projected it will need another $1 billion a year.

“It’s like that throughout the country,” said Mattox. “We’re taking a look at what these other states are recommending to their legislature to find this money.”

The Blue Ribbon Commission is expected to forward its recommendations to the governor sometime this year.

 

 

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Comments

  • jake123

    with all our problems we can still go further faster than anytime in our history...but it is a beast that must be fed .instead we are arguing as to the size of a clip,whether a gun can kill 10 times or 30 times before putting another clip in the gun.... and remember only the law abiding CITIZENS are going to obey this law not the dummy that is on the trigger of these horrible shootings.....

  • wvman75

    People need to tell them that they will buy a four wheel drive, equipped with a winch and will continue driving on what roads are available before they give them ONE RED CENT MORE in revenue. It might also help to tell them that we are finally going to hold them accountable for needing that four wheel drive and winch in order to get around in our state. Like,....no results and you hit the road. Lousy as they are.

  • HMAALLTHEWAY

    There is no easy fix for our road problems and short falls in funding here in The Mountain State. We are one of the smallest states but have the sixth largest network of state roads in the country. We have about 1.855 million people in WV number 37th on the list of most populated states in the country. The math doesn't add up. We need Federal dollars for our highway system to offset the lack of population to generate the required revenue to maintain the 6th largest network of roads in the USA.
    These are the facts: Highway funding has been flat for about 10 years but raw materials have increased every year.
    WV has Davis Bacon wage law rate system, every year those individuals constructing the highways get a raise, that is set not by the contractors or the WVDOH!
    Those employees of the raw material producers also recieve raises and the raw materials cost increase but revenue stays flat.
    It has caught up with us and we are held captive by it. We need real men and women with real solutions to make the hard choices here in this state.

    Also, Wild flowers in the medians, rest stops and public transportation subsidized by the government? Really ?
    The roads and briges in this state are deterioting faster than we can fix them!

    People don't want to hear the word tolls, gas tax or any sales tax on products that have too do with a automobile should go to the highway fund. Those funds that would be generated by the aforemention taxes should actually go to building roads and bridges not bus tickets, wild flowers and rest room breaks.

    The House and Senate passed a bill to raise DMV fees and dedicate that money to the highway system but it was vetoed. I wouldn't mind paying an extra $5 a year per vehicle for DMV fees, that is $20 extra bucks a year for me.
    Heaven forbid we make the Tamarac survive by its own sales like any other business in WV. No, it recieves money from the tolls on the turnpike. I know the Feds subsidizes farming but crafts and fried green tomato sandwiches?

    "We live in a state that needs roads and bridges built. Deep down in places people don't like to talk about at fund raisers and political parties, you want us building those roads, you need us building those roads"

    "most people have no idea how to build highways. All those people against raising additional revenue have just weakend a road or bridge here in WV today"
    "you want the truth?" it appears "you can't handle the truth"

  • wvman75

    Being rich is how they got there.

  • wvman75

    All the rich in our state are in office. In Charleston.

  • wvtomd

    after all these years of our state being run by liberals you think everything would be just fine by now. guess they just are not taxing the rich enough.

  • Mercer County

    The two wars Bush got us in hurt our chances for federal money. Obama has tried his best to not help WV. Has anyone ever seen the state road workers? Five DOH workers are usually standing around talking while one is holding a sign and two are actually working. We need to get more out of the lazy state road workers. We should sub-contract jobs out and end lavish benefits for underperforming state workers.

  • wvman75

    This problem isn't new. We didn't have great highways and roads and then just overnight had them go to crap. They have always been neglected by the people and political party that runs this state.

    It always seems easy to for them to come up with some excuse to raise taxes.

    Raise your hand if you're gullible enough to think it'll make our roads any better. It will serve to identify you as someone who keeps putting these same people in office and has no sense of history.

  • Tim C

    Here come the taxes that democrats love so dearly.

  • Shane

    Infrastructure is where the money should have been put instead of bailing out the auto industry and banks. Then we would be in near the mess we are today. Some one obviously failed history in school.

    • Mac

      So close down the auto industry and spend the money on roads? Without the bailout the auto industry shuts down and you'd have to walk where ever you wanted to go so there would be no need for road improvements. Now THAT would really save money!

      • NorthernWVman

        really Mac? It is supply and demand. If the company cannot compete then down the road they go. To say that if we did not bail out the auto industry we would have to walk everywhere is ludicrous!! So the other manufacturers that we did not have to bail out would have stopped making vehicles too?

  • Dave Jackson

    Got a few dollars for the completion of Rt. 35?

  • Howard Winters

    Suggestions:
    1) Look at Virginia's current legislative session and the Governor's recommendation to stabilize and increase revenue for roads by repealing the motor fuels tax, and adding slight increase to state tax. (WV would need to be able to ensure freight carriers passing through our state pay road user fees).
    2) Trucks (freight) damages our roads at about 80 to 100 times the rate of a passenger vehicle. Roads are designed and built for freight. If they weren't, the cost of construction and maintenance for the passenger (consumer) would be much less. Producers (goods suppliers) should bear the lion's share of the cost, as the roads are designed and maintained for their primary use. If producers want to move goods through or into the State, road user fees are needed - whether direct, toll, or general sales/use tax. As most goods seem to be imported these days, pushing congress to apply the appropriate user fees at our port facilities, distributed to the states by the amount of freight and highway miles, would seem to "solve the problem". If the importers paid the real cost of goods delivery, it would open the door for local mfg. to be able to compete on an equitable and even field, and that would improve our domestic economy for producers, freight-transit, and consumers.

    • Halley's Comet

      Raise fees on Producers??

      Such as Aggregate, Concrete, and Asphalt Materials.

      Increase cost on the products that repair and builds our Roads???

  • Edwin Blehschmidt

    Could be time to look at the rain day fund or tolls for a period of time

  • mike

    if our state would quit handing out welfare like candy we could fix this problem. Make the healthy people on welfare do road work to earn their check instead of having more kids to get more money.

  • hillbilleee

    We should be able to lower the drinking age back to 18. Didn't the federal government blackmail all the states to raise it to 21 or loose federal highway money?