West Virginia isn’t fairing much better on the state of its infrastructure than the rest of the nation. The American Society of Civil Engineers released its report card on the state of the nation’s infrastructure this week and overall the entire county gets a D+.
The report on West Virginia finds the state is a little worse in some areas and a little better in others. Bridges were a key focal point in our state.
“You have more structurally deficient and functionally obsolete bridges in West Virginia than on the national average,” said Andy Herman a past president of the organization.
Herman says West Viginia’s climate and harsh winters are key contributors to the decay, but he adds equally problematic is the lack of proper maintenance, repair, and replacement. He said the obstacle is funding.
“All across the country we’re seeing engineers in our departments of transporation having to make decisions on how they use the limited funds they have for maintenance, repairs, rehabilitation, or even new bridges,” said Herman.
West Virginia got low marks for highways which have fallen largely into disrepair. He says that’s costing money when we don’t even realize it.
“In West Virginia it costs your motorists another $372 Million a year in extra vehicle repairs,” he said. “That breaks down to about $273 per motorist that they’re paying to be inconvenienced and fix their vehicles.”
It doesn’t stop there. The report finds West Virginia has $3 BILLION in wastewater treatment needs in the next 20-years. There’s about a $1-Billion cost to improve drinking water systems. The state also has 45-miles of levies which are in need of attention and there are nine sites in the Mountain State on the Hazardous Waste National Priority list.
Herman said the solution is multi-faceted. He says there need to be disucssoins about how to make it so people drive less and possibly work from home or use public transportation. The other end is far less popular.
“What if they paid a little more for a gas tax or another funding method to fix those roads,” he said. “It might even save them money in the long run.”
The organization’s report card comes out every four years. Herman says although they nation got a D+, it was actually an improvement over four years ago when they issued a grade of D.