CHARLESTON, W.Va. – More than 200 road projects that are underway now in West Virginia could be in jeopardy if members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives do not find a way to replenish the federal Highway Trust Fund before the start of August.

Nationally, the shortfall for the current fiscal year is estimated at between $8 billion and $9 billion and that amount includes millions of federal dollars for road construction and maintenance projects in the Mountain State that are already under contract.

Mike Clowser, executive director of the Contractors Association of West Virginia, said — if the federal funding is not there, as scheduled, next month — contractors will have two options. The first of those options would lead to layoffs.

“We can just shut the jobs down until this issue is resolved and, when Congress does provide additional funds to the state, then we will resume those projects,” he explained. “The second option that contractors will have is to continue working on the projects, but to accept about 50 cents on the dollar of what they are owed.”

Clowser said getting help from the state Division of Highways — even temporarily — is not one of the options for a reason. “The department is just so cash-strapped that we do not have that ability to transfer out other funds into the federal funding deficit,” he said on Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

That is not the case everywhere.

“Other states are not having this problem,” Clowser said. “Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Florida, Alabama, other states have a sufficient funding mechanism for their state highway programs and they’re just planning on using their state dollars to make up the difference until the federal issue is resolved.”

Members of the U.S. Senate were reportedly working Wednesday on a way to fill the budget hole before the Highway Trust Fund goes bankrupt.

On Thursday, meanwhile, members of the House Ways and Means Committee were scheduled to start working on a $10 billion bipartisan plan that would fund transportation projects through May 2015 — allowing time for the development of long-term solutions for the Highway Trust Fund’s ongoing money problems.

Last year, West Virginia received about $400 million in federal highway dollars from the Highway Trust Fund.

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Comments

  • Bob the Civil Engineer

    I thought the "shovel ready jobs" Obama talked about with his trillion $ stimulus was supposed to get us started? I am sorry our State Police can't weigh overloaded trucks but alas it must be our overloaded cars destroying our highways since the legislature denies their right to weigh trucks.

    • Dumb Liberals

      The only “shovel ready” was the load of BS he sold to the libtards! The unfortunate side is WV is “governed” by the same breed of libtards. (soon to change ....)

  • mark

    Why do we want to waste money repairing roads in a state Obama is working to close anyway. There are better options for spending federal funds, such as making sure our tax dollars provide health care for illegal aliens, or teaching the Afghan people to defend themselves with water pistols against terrorist. Exaggerated you say, he's the one pushing gun restriction. How about raising funds for paving the state roads by having a weekly user fee for anyone working within WV. Give me a break.

  • Guardian

    And our governor empaneled a "Blue Ribbon Commission" to study new ways to fund highways in this state - got their report - and he AND the legislator sat on their damn hands during the regular session and worried themselves over a chemical spill and took not one bit of action on roads - nothing, nada, zilch.

    If we re-elect a single incumbent to the legislature this election, shame on us as voters.

    • Dumb Liberals

      The only thing “blue ribbon” about the panel is they are all jackasses (d).

    • Roger

      +1

  • WV Hillbilly

    Roger. Will you be the 1st to cry if the state raises your taxes to fund our roads without fed money? You do realize that a FEDERAL tax is added to each gallon of gas we West Virginian's buy and in large part, that is the "handout" we are receiving? Would you rather all the federal funds currently coming to WV simply go elsewhere?

  • JTL

    We pay some of the highest taxes on gas and with every tax increase its said that the funds are for our highway system. The question that needs asked is where is the gas tax really going and if in fact it is to highways then those who are mismanaging it need held accountable.

  • JC

    WOW! And the State is spending thousands to build a bridge to Tug Valley High in Mingo County.

  • arp

    All I'm seeing is a lot of orange barrels out there, anyway.

  • Diaspora

    The hot topic of political debate in Washington for the last 6 years has been the amount of Federal spending. Our politicians have managed to cut spending in certain areas. Essentially, that seems to be a positive thing, until you run out of funding to repair and build critical transportation infrastructure. Let's face it folks. It is a needed subsidy to the general economy by the Federal government. There will be dire economic consequences, across the board, as the highway system falls into further disrepair. It was not built as a free and convenient method of discretionary, personal and vacation travel. It is the life blood, literally the veins and arteries, of the US economy. It must be subsidized, and at a level that is fairly consistent from state to state. Thus, it can not be left up to the individual states. It is "interstate" commerce, and that is constitutionally the primary role of the federal government.

    This potato is hotter than Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare. For those that want deny highway spending, beware. Eventually the people are going to be tired of the potholes, and business will be tired of the late and damaged goods delivered on a crumbling and unsafe highway system. You will be voted out for making political fanfare out of one of the most critical facets of the US economy.

    • Aaron

      Where has spending been cut? The highway fund may be going broke but that hasn't stopped them from spending?

      • Dumb Liberals

        Abracadabra!! - watch them pull another dollar(s) from your pocket.

  • Tom

    Why is it that we can always find money to fight wars, but we always seem to scratch our heads and drag our feet when it comes to finding money for anything else?

  • Aaron

    I would love to see West Virginia address some of our own problems and become more self reliant. Currently, our state ranks 2nd only to New Mexico in federal spending for every tax dollar paid at $2.57. Instead of us expecting Uncle Sam to take care of us, I believe our leaders should have addressed this problem during the last legislative session instead of shifting responsibility to someone else.

    • Dumb Liberals

      But they’re from the government and they’re here to help!?!?

  • Roger

    Is it me or is it just another example of our state waiting for the next hand out from the federal government. More and more West Virginians waiting for the handouts from the state, and the state waiting for handouts from the feds.

    No wonder our state continues to decline in every aspect of life.

    • Dan

      It's not a hand-out!

      It's a distribution of the Highway Trust fund that is from the federal gas tax on every gallon of gas purchased. Including gas that is purchased in WV.

    • Dumb Liberals

      Wow!!!! Someone actually recognized the liberal’s entitlement mentality on the grand scheme of welfare.

  • jm

    The feds will spend billions of dollars to fund 3rd world countries and their problems........but will ignore ours. As to the immigration issue and the WH's request for several billion to address it, lets put those kids to work fixing the roads if we are going to pay to keep them and not deport.........