State Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox says his agency came out of the 2013 Regular Legislative Session with two important pieces of legislation intact.
The first makes the design-build construction model a legitimate consideration in replacing infrastructure. “It’s no longer a pilot program. It’s now a tool in our tool box,” Mattox said.
“We can use it in situations where we have an emergency or something we need to build quickly.”
Design-build cuts down the time on a project by eliminating the need to have design plans in place before any work can get started.
Mattox says the other key legislation lawmakers approved is the allowance of public-private construction projects.
“That will allow us to work with the private sector and be more collaborative and innovative in the way we go about designing, constructing, maintaining, operating, and even financing our bridges here in West Virginia,” Mattox said.
Always on the front burner at the Transportation Department is how to pay for building new highways and maintaining the existing roads and bridges. The Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission is studying the idea and will come back with some recommendations later this year.
Mattox says toll roads are a consideration, but they are highly unpopular in West Virginia . He also says the state doesn’t have roadways with the volume of traffic it would take to make them effective.
“The state of Virginia has looked at the consumer sales tax. The state of Ohio has looked at leveraging their existing Ohio Turnpike to be able to bond for projects throughout the state,” Mattox said.
“I”m anxious to see what the Blue Ribbon Commission recommends.”