MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A series of public meetings are set to get underway this week regarding the future of highway funding in West Virginia.

The governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways scheduled the nine meetings set in locations across the state in hopes of getting ideas from the public on how to fund the roads.

“Our revenues have been flat to make improvements to our system and we are going to need more funding,” said state Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox.

Construction jobs on the state’s highways are now funded by the state Road Fund, which is made up of revenues from the state gasoline tax. The fund has been stagnant for the last few years and fewer federal highway dollars have been earmarked for West Virginia.

The first meeting is scheduled for Thursday at the Holiday Inn in Martinsburg and Mattox said they expect good things from them.

“There’s a lot of times that the public has some great ideas that we implement and we’re hopeful that we hear some of those good ideas that people may have that they will share with us at these public meetings,” he said.

Once the meetings are conducted, all the comments will be collected and put together in a final report that will be submitted to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin in late summer or early fall.

Mattox said he is confident they will find extra funding.

“I know that we are not going to get it all at once but I do think that we will get some additional funding that will help us make improvements to the highway system in West Virginia,” Mattox said.

The meeting schedule is as follows:

Thurs., July 11, Kearneysville Comfort Suites, 1937 Short Road, Kearneysville  4 p.m.-7 p.m.

Tues., July 16, Chief Logan Lodge, Hotel and Conference Center, 1000 Conference Center Drive, Logan  4 p.m.-7 p.m.

Thurs., July 18, MU Alumni Hall, 519 John Marshall Drive, Huntington  4 p.m.-7 p.m.

Tues., July 30, Oglebay Resort, 465 Oglebay Drive, Wheeling  4 p.m.-7 p.m.

Thurs., Aug. 1, Mineral Wells, Comfort Suites, 167 Elizabeth Pike, Mineral Wells  4 p.m.-7 p.m.

Thurs., Aug. 8, Fairmont, Robert H. Mollohan Research Center, 1000 Galiher Drive, Fairmont  4 p.m.-7 p.m.

Mon., Aug. 12, Princeton Days Inn, 347 Meadowfield Lane, Princeton  10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Mon., Aug. 12, Beckley, Mountaineer Conference Center, 2120 Harper Road, Beckley  4 p.m.-7 p.m.

Thurs., Aug. 15, Elkins Days Inn, 1200 Harrison Avenue, Elkins  4 p.m.-7 p.m.

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Comments

  • Rick Freeman

    The division of highways waste too much money. Reward districts for cutting cost instead of cutting their money if they don't use all their budgets.

  • MIKEYD

    take the cell phones from the state police

  • cutty77

    As i was filling up on Sunday. We as West Virginian's pay over 50.cents in Fuel Tax. Thats pretty Damm High. WVDOH is very late to this party. I agree with some other comments. Be Done with the WVDOH as it stands. They have no clue. there to busy paving there Good Ole Boy's Roads.Paul Mattox is like MaGraw Brothers,never worked a day in his Life.Eating at The Trough like they did.

  • pcdoctor

    Where does all the wv lottery money go, where does the wv toll money go, how about all the money the state is getting from the well companies that now own the WV roads. The well companies now own 90% of WV roads, because WV leased the roads out to the well companies.

  • RogerD

    Look for increased fuel taxes. Our leaders are actually followers. They see the Maryland gas tax increases and they want to copy that strategy. I just hope they don't propose a rain tax like Maryland has.

  • wvman75

    Based on the performance of our Department of Highways, they need to work cheaper.

  • FungoJoe

    Extend the Turnpike so that it runs from Princeton to Parkersburg. Have to get congressional approvals and such.
    Get $5 a car, $10 per SUV and large pick-up, and $20 per larger vehicles (anything pulling a trailer) as they enter WV. Divide the road into northern and southern sections.
    This will enable the DOT to remove the existing toll booths on I-77 at Mossy, northbound at Sharon. Keep the southbound Sharon booths. Just add a new toll booth on southbound I-77 around Parkersburg and a northbound one north of Charleston around Sissonville, Kenna or Goldtown.
    One fee per section instead of toll booths every 25 miles or so.

    • wvualum99

      No doubt this will add funding. It will not address the problem, though. We as a society should not accept the theory of "throw enough money at it and it will go away". As I've stated above, properly address the problem and go from there. I'm not saying that if the WVDOH, government employees, and polititions were more efficient, accountable, and responsible all of the funding issues would go away. I do think it would lessen the financial strain that has been created.

  • blugldmn

    Do away with the prevailing requirements

  • wvualum99

    I have worked in the heavy/highway construction industry for the last 13.5 years and I don't mind paying my fair share of taxes when I know that the tax dollars are being used wisely. The WVDOH processes and proceedures are 100% BROKEN!! They are currently paving roads that do not need paved while other roads that are in dire need of repairs go untouched. They will spend money in the summer to re-stripe a section of roadway only to repave that section a week later, then wait until the fall to stripe it again just in time for the snow plows to scrape it off. They will spend more money to repair a WVDOH vehicle or piece of equipment then it would have cost to replace it. How many times do you see WVDOH crews working on a road with 10 people on the crew and 4 of them standing around doing nothing? How many times have you seen the mowing crews parked on the side of the interstate and they are picking apples? In the past ten years, we have seen both very mild winters and severe winters. One of the first things you hear early on in the severe winters is that they have spent too much for salt and snow removal. You NEVER hear about how much they saved during the mild winters. What do they do with the money they save during the mild winters? They spend it in the wrong places, paving sections of highway that don't need it. I can give many more examples of how the WVDOH wastes our tax dollars.

    I beleive the highway department must completely revamp how they do things, and how things are funded. They completely lack any accountability and responsibility and that starts at the top with Maddox. I beleive that before the citizens of West Virginia are asked to pay more taxes, the WVDOH needs to ensure that the tax dollars and current revenue sources are being used wisely, which, in my opinion, is not happening.

    If after the highway department gets their act together and they still need additional funding, then and only then should we be looking at additional funding sources.

    I realize that broken system will not get fixed, it never does. Our politicians and government employees always ignore the real issues, it's just too hard to fix the real problems becuase it might require someone to think a little, work a little, or even cost them a vote on election day. Tax increases are way easier, requires less thought and less work.

    I'm completely against any type of tax increase, whether at the gas pump or at the grocery store, until the real problems are fixed and a true value of what is needed can be assessed.

    • susanf

      I agree w/your assessment of unnecessary road work being done - a good example is the repaving work on Rt.33 between Buckhannon and Elkins that is currently underway. There was nothing wrong w/the road in the first place so why it is being torn up and replaced is a mystery to me. Another example that indicates a special kind of stupid is the simultaneous snarling of traffic on I79 in both the northbound and southbound directions while work is being done at Exit 99, which has created a very dangerous situation with traffic being backed up for miles in both directions and causing a very dangerous situation for drivers attempting to access I79.

      As others have also pointed out, I believe that removing the food tax was completely stupid because the revenue it generated certainly would be more beneficial than the negligible impact it had on the consumers' food budget. Just something for the politicians to brag about.

      And I also agree that the gas drilling industry needs to be more heavily taxed to pay for the damages they are causing, not only to the roads but also to the environment.

      • wvualum99

        I'm not sure that I agree with the opinions in favor of keeping the food tax. The point of my earlier post is that the citizens (weather it be on a local, state, or national level) should not have to bear the responsibility of government employee and/or politician laziness, selfishness, ignorance, and waste. In my opinion, that's where the root of most if not all the problems we face not only as a state, but as a nation, lye. The broken systems need to be fixed. When, and only when, those problems and systems are fixed is when the taxpayer should be asked for more.

      • wvualum99

        As far as the gas industry goes, the majority of the corporations are not only doing what the WVDEP and EPA require of them, but are also goin above and beyond. I am currently working with one of the corporations that is trying to reduce turbidity levels they are measuring in the storm "run-off" at there facility. Currently, there are no turbidity level requirements that they have to meet, they are taking upon themselves to do it.

        I have also worked with another corporation in the past to repair the damage they caused to state roads, at the corporation's expense. The thing that the general public doesn't think about is that when the roads get torn up, it not only affects the public, but it also affects the gas companies because of the lost time (from a production standpoint), the damage to their equipment fleet (from damage to tires and suspension, etc.). Although it may not be for the same reasons as you or I would have for them wanting to fix and maintian the roadways, they want to fix them because in the long run, it does save them money.

        With all that said, there are some "bad apples" that do create a bad image for the gas industry as a whole. They do everything they can to get by doing as little as they have to with regard to the environment and roadways. These are the ones that should be punished, not the industry as a whole.

        It all goes back to the problem vs. solution. The ones responsible for the problems should be the ones required to fix them. The ones already doing their part shouldn't be asked to do more or pay more in order to correct someone elses lack of accountability and/or responsibility.

    • AAAAHHHHH

      Nothing will work until Tomblin mans up and gets rid of Mattox and all his yes men working for him. WVDOH needs a complete revamping of its administration. I am sure there are still some good people there, but they have been buried by the cronies. Another good screwing that Manchin gave this state.

  • What happened to wv?

    I agree with adding 1% sales tax and do away with fuel tax and b&o tax.

  • RHytonen

    Get it -ALL- from the Frackers who have destroyed roads (and water/sewer systems under them) never meant for 1/10th this much abuse.

    A good example is that 'new' rt.50 was designed without the on/off ramps and overpasses that would be needed for all this added entering and leaving truck traffic. Just last week a mother and daughter were killed by a water truck in our town because of this.

    I say get it from the people who are profiting enormously - not from those who pay the undue price of their irresponsibility-enabled costs, long after the extractionists have left.

  • RHytonen

    We all know the "severance tax' should be at least TEN TIMES what it is, to compensate (though partially) for the complete destruction of our ancient fragile infrastructure being observed (and far more under ground, where it can not be observed.)

    And that doesn't even begin to account and atone for the DEATHS due to brine trucks lately, as well as the eventual, inevitable total poisoning of our water supply with cumulative carcinogens.

    Hell, it wouldn't even pay to clean up the abandoned cancer ponds and slurry lakes, or revegetate in the permanently destroyed soil chemistry.

    • ShinnstonGuy

      You are absolutely right. In North Central WV the roads have been demolished (not that they were that good to start with). You can instantly tell where the drilling is occurring because the roads are gone. And the state legislature thinks taxing these companies $1,000 will fix them? Try $1 million per mile. I think that is the State Road estimate.

      • pc

        You've got that right. Remember a few years ago the legislature passed a measure which allegedly dedicated additional coal severance tax money to help repair/repave coal haulage roads, county and state, which sustained more and frequent damage due to heavy usage from coal hauling trucks. The result? Well, ask people in southern coal counties like Boone, McDowell, Mingo, Logan, Wyoming, etc., how that worked out. Road conditions have deteriorated and are worse than ever and I'm sure the same is true in coal counties in northern WV. Anyone want to guess where these additional tax revenues went? Certainly not to the roads!!

  • Tom

    Hey you guys are raining on the politicians' parade!!! They just finished fighting over who should get credit from eliminating the food tax. No thoughts of cause and effect on their part. When a WV bridge collapses at least the dead will have some food in their stomachs.

  • Michael

    Reinstitute part of the food tax. That may actually bring in a few dollars....what do you think? I don't think I ever heard anyone complain about that tax. It was just there and was part of life. Legislators just zeroed it out on July 1 and now 8 days later wondering how to come up with funds for highways. Wow!!

  • Habib Haddad

    Simple. Add 1% to the sales tax on everything, dedicate it to highways and remove the taxes on motor fuel. The border counties will stop losing so much business and highways will be funded completely. Everyone wins. If you don't think it will work, look to our cousins in Virginia who just did it.