CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox told MetroNews Friday he’s seen a little more movement in Congress this week toward what could be a potential agreement to extend funding for the Federal Highway Trust Fund. Federally-funded highway construction projects will come to a halt if there’s no deal by Aug. 1.

Mattox said committees in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate have been discussing similar bills this week that would provide $10.8 billion in funding through May 31, 2015.

“That would make the Highway Trust Fund solvent and give us the money we need to keep our road construction projects moving forward,” Mattox said.

But the secretary admitted anything could happen over the next three weeks so the state must be prepared in case there’s no money for construction projects like Corridor H and Route 10. Mattox said the state has explained a contingency plan to the contractors working on 203 federally funded projects.

“We’ve contacted our contractors and told them we will reduce their payments Aug. 1,” he said. “They would have the choice of receiving those reduced payments for the work they’ve done or they could choose to stop construction until the crisis is averted.”

Mattox said he expects the decisions to differ among contractors.

The way it works now is contractors submit invoices to the state DOH for payment and the state pays them out of the state Road Fund. The state then submits the bills to the federal government which reimburses the state. In most cases, it’s about 80 percent of the initial payment.

Secretary Mattox said he’s hopeful members of Congress and President Barack Obama reach an agreement, even it is just continuing funding under the current plan.

“We’ve been down this road before,” Mattox said. “It seems their backs are against the wall but they always come through with additional funding.”

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Comments

  • Raging Moderate

    I would rather pay $2.00 for $10.00 worth of highway repair than 3 or 5 or $10.00. It's really that simple. Of course the trade off is the uncertainty created by the Dysfunctionals in DC. The notion that state taxpayers need to pay for our own highways because to rely on the Feds is to engage in welfare mentality sounds noble, but I'm not paying higher taxes to defend your ideology. I do agree on one point, though. To fix these roads, the only fiscally responsible thing to do is raise taxes, but this presents a conundrum for conservatives. Nobody wants to pay higher gasine taxes, yet to increase taxes on natural gas producers or CSX or coal severance is a job-killing proposition, no?
    Now the liberal solution is unsatisfactory too, which is to simply increase deficit spending, something the state cannot do but the Feds can, but shouldn't. The fact is, there's no free lunch; if we want our roads fixed, somebody has to pay for it.

    • Aaron

      I'm not sure I understand this post. First you say that while paying for our own roads is noble, you're "not paying higher taxes to defend my ideology" but then you turn right around and say the "fiscally responsible thing to do is raise taxes" and then say it "presents a "conundrum fro conservatives." You end in saying "there's no free lunch; if we want our roads fixed, somebody has to pay for it."

      The best thing I can deduce from that post is that you want the federal government to fix West Virginia roads and you have no problem with other state's citizens footing the bill. Is that correct?

      • Hop'sHip

        Well Aaron, I won't presume to speak for Raging M (or for Jesus, or the Founding Fathers) but I don't have a problem in the wealthier states subsidizing the poorer states. I admit to occasionally driving on those interstate highways they subsidized in the past. Now I admit to admiring those ideologues who refuse to drive on them. At least they are true to their ideology, for what that is worth. On its own a rural state like West Virginia is not a viable economic entity. If you want to see what WV would be like on its own just look at the state of the state at the end of the nineteenth century prior to the country's progressive reforms. You will find a smoldering landscape left behind by those intent on reaping benefit from whatever extractable resource the state makes available at the time. I prefer that we make a valuable contribution to our union of states where all are held worthy and have some opportunity to advance.

        • The bookman

          I have to agree HH. Being such a small state with such resources we should be wealthy, not dependent. I have a word......mismanagement!

        • Aaron

          What do you mean you don't mean to speak for Jesus? You've already claimed he's on your side, there's no backing out of that statement now?

          I do wonder though, given that West Virginia has produced billions of tons of coal, still has 5% of all remaining coal reserves and sets atop two of the larger natural gas shale reserves known, why are we poor and why do we need subsidized by 'wealthier' states? Also, why wouldn't the money from that coal have not made a difference during the 20th century in lieu of all those progressive policies that you failed to mention?

          What I deduce from your ramble is that West Virginia's cannot take care of themselves thus you are OK with us taking in almost $3.00 in federal spending for every dollar we pay.

          Why is that Hop Hip?

          • The bookman

            HH:

            Actually, my comment was in jest, and you aren't the first person to accurately point out that sometimes I take myself a little too serious. A little self deprecating humor in the Reagan style to add some levity to the air seemed necessary at the moment. So, as is the case for all of us here, sometimes we wish we had written a slightly a different post prior to hitting the submit button. There is no way to undo the things we write here, and I think we all need to try to keep the snark out of our posts. And that truly is my humble opinion. Have a great Sunday.

          • Hop'sHip

            Bookie: I acknowledge your comment. While I don't remember using those exact words (sanctimonious isn't a normal part of my vocabulary; I actually had to look up its meaning) your comment served to force me to reflect on what I did say that made you feel I implied such. It reminded me that while I have no control over the self-awareness others bring to their postings, I do have full control over what I bring to mine. I don't often agree with DP, but he was right when he said that I post too often here often with little beneficial to say.

          • Aaron

            Also, I can't help but note that you failed to address any of the comments that proved your rant incorrect. You claim
            WV a poor state but the only reason we are poor is because of our leaders, past and present.

          • Aaron

            And here I thought that even though you were extremely misguided Hop Hip, you were essentially a smart man but to label me a sociopath all because I've exposured you each time you're wrong demonstrates otherwise.

            You can rest assured that I'm not antisocial, I understand the difference between right and wrong, I'm neither charming nor do I possess the ability to manipulate others and I'm certainly no liar. Perhaps had you not called Bookman among other things, pompous and sanctimonious, I might be offended but as I've encountered your kind before online, I'll wear your crying as a badge of honor.

          • Hop'sHip

            So you think me a liar. I think you a sociopath. So I can only blame myself here because I initiated this " dialogue." Two things you should never do is spit into the wind and engage a sociopath on the internet. Hopefully I learned my lesson.

          • Aaron

            Where did I support any screamers? Another one of your lies!!!

          • The bookman

            For the record, HH, I never presumed you could speak for Jesus. Even my sanctimonious, pompous self can't speak for Jesus.

          • Hop'sHip

            Look. You seem to have a reading comprehension problem. I never claimed him to be on MY side. I mistakenly claimed to think he would be on the side of the kids being screamed at and not the screamers. But here is something you would know nothing about. I admitted it was wrong (three times) to presume I would know which side he would be on. He very well might have sided with you and the screamers. Here it is one more time. I WAS WRONG TO PRESUME I COULD SPEAK FOR JESUS.

  • wvguy

    Hmm...I seem to remember some discussion about Corridor H in the past being called "the road to nowhere". Seems like it's really fitting now

  • IRON HORSE

    What about the money for jobs that the half breed in Washington was telling everyone would be created!!!

    • AJ

      that insult is totally uncalled for you racist hick.

      • Jpf

        Yea, AJ, like your comment is any better. You both are racists!

    • Aaron

      It's kind of hard to correct Hop Hip's mistake regarding President Obama's American Jobs Act, which spent more money on public employees and entitlement programs than the potential of creating jobs when someone says something as ignorant as your comment Iron Horse.

      It's hard enough countering the propaganda purported by unreasonable, extreme liberals without the small minority of individuals like yourself espousing this sort of trash.

    • The bookman

      It's statements like this by Iron Horse that makes the task of debating the President's policies on their content so difficult. If you have something substantive to add, then please indulge. If not, please retreat to your local watering hole to vent your misguided tirade, as no one here needs to hear it.

    • Hop'sHip

      The full-breeds in the HR have blocked it. They did it because they knew racists like you would blame the President.

      • Savage

        Hop'sHip, I hardly consider half breed a racist term. However if it was meant that way so be it. I have many relatives made tremendous sacrifices for this country, they might not agree with what's you say but they put their lives on the line for the you to have that right to say what they disagree with. That's what makes our country so great.

        The issue with Mr Obama is he says one thing but does another, like with Obama Care he said if you like your insurances you can keep it. That not exactly true now is it. He is not concerned with breaking the middle classes back to get his way as with the government shut down, or to shove it down your throat when you disagree with his perspective. Don't get me wrong there are bad politicians on both sides of the isle, and I vote to who I think can do the greater good for the people and have no alliance with any particular party. Personally I think the American people should stand up and send every career position home in the next few elections. They (upper levels of government to the lower levels of government) need to work on fixing the current problems, before creating new ones. Most politicians don't perform well with multitasking, and when they try you better hold on. I'm certainly tired of the way our governments are ran and hope that it will change or be changed for the better.

        • Hop'sHip

          I understand a lot of people, especially here in West Virginia, are not fans of the President. I was no big fan of the last one. It comes with the position.

  • Tim C

    I know this is unrelated but I saw a DOH crew arrive on a job at around 9:30am start putting stone in a ditch, quit at 11:30 for lunch, and came back to work around 2:00pm, and wrapped things up by 3:00pm and sit beside the road until time to quit. I know this isn't related but the DOH is mis-managed from the top to the bottom. You could give them all the money in the world and they would still be broke.

    • Jpf

      Contrary to what Cooter thinks, it is related. That money comes from the highway dollars also. DOH is a wasteful agency and always has been.

    • Cooter

      You're right, unrelated.

      A vast majority of highway work is done by contract. Done by contractors who bid on the work. lowest bidder (competent bidder) wins. Those little ditch jobs are the ones too small to bid out, and they send the local DOH crew, and they're not terribly efficient, that's for sure. I somehow doubt they're measured by efficiency, but rather by how well they can justify their own jobs.

  • Mountain Navy

    Now if we just would get them to fix Allegheny mountain. Another truck went over Wednesday.

    • The bookman

      How, exactly does one fix Allegheny Mtn? I'm assuming you are talking about eastbound 33 between Harman and Onego. It's a steep grade, narrow bench, with numerous switchbacks, mandatory stop at top which most trucks ignore. What engineering marvel would you propose?

      • RDG

        To "The Bookman" regarding Allegheny Mtn. There are several things that can be done, not the least of which would be installation of two affordable Catch-Net Systems on the approach to the two worst curves. All have been recommended to them more than once. Check this link to Google and read and watch the videos.

        https://www.google.com/#q=Runaway+Trucks+Catch+net+system

        State of Wyoming has used them successfully and many times the trucks can be driven away instead of looking like a plane crash site.

        There is simply a lack of desire until a runaway truck kills a load of school children.

        DOH was willing to spend over a million dollars to build a very short climbing lane for people to pass trucks on the Randolph County eastbound lane leading to the dangerous downhill slope in Pendleton County. They did this despite the fact that all the trucks are required to pull over and stop to check their brakes as soon as they crest the mountain. Meaning the trucks are getting out of the way anyway, but they built the climbing lane, yet claim no funds to use these new and unique catch net systems.

        • The bookman

          If there are applicable technologies, or engineering alternatives to explore that can enhance the safety of that section of highway, then they should be explored and pursued. Given that there are only 16 nets like you describe active in the world indicates the application is specific to certain situations. My point remains that I travel the location very frequently and seldom see a truck driver ever check his brakes at the top if the mountain. They usually veer off to let you by and continue right on down the mountain, and often do not even do that. I grew up in the mountains and have lived along the Front my entire life and know of its danger, and bringing a tractor-trailer off the mountain must be a harrowing experience. I simply do not know of a solution for that specific turn halfway down the grade. There is no avenue to the left to build an upside cross traffic ramp without deconstructing the mountain and a shear drop on the right that can't support a lane for the runaway arrestor. At the bottom of the mountain they probably could install a small ramp with the arrestor net you describe, but the more dangerous spot is the hard left at the end of the long stretch halfway down. Mountain Navy suggested the DOH fix it, as though the solution was awaiting funding or prioritization, and I question that premise.

          • RDG

            "Bookman," appreciate any push you can add. The DOH could make the case for federal highway safety funds if they so desire. And, I agree, had Corridor H remained on the southern path where it belonged, it would have by-passed Allegheny via Rich Mtn.-to Whitmer-through White's Run. At any rate, it is time they spend some money to fix this major highway safety issue.

          • The bookman

            But the DOH isn't paying to move earth on Corridor H. And if the environmentalists hadn't obstructed the original path of The Corridor we wouldn't be having the discussion. If there is a safe alternative that is economically and technologically feasible, I'm for it. Push on Senator Clark Barnes. I'll call him Monday!

          • RDG

            "Bookman," the DOH does have it for study, after over 30 years worth of efforts by some and additional fatalities and injuries. The road in the subject curve can be realigned to the left with earth moving that is nothing to modern equipment. DOH supposedly purchased the right-of-way long ago. That will allow the space for the catch net to the right. Moreover, there are two wide shoulders leading to the curve you mention. They would allow for part of the area required for the catch net. They could use piling and fill to tie the two wide shoulders together. Again, the earth moving would be nothing compared to what they have done to build portions of Corridor H. These trucks are not going to stop using US 33 if they are headed to Richmond, VA. Beach or other points south, because Corr. H terminus with I-81 is too far north. The reason there are only a few of the catch nets is because it is relatively new. But, I guess WV needs to hold true to history and be the LAST to ever use something, rather than being proactive and on the leading edge! Additional warning signs with high impact warnings regarding # of fatalities might help encourage truckers stopping. With an emphasis on proper gearing. I know for a fact that some that wreck, do stop, but they descend in too high of a gear.

  • Woodchuck

    The politicians need a crisis to get on TV. Mojo will be on tv telling us how he adverted a crisis and saved the stupid public!

  • Aaron

    “We’ve contacted our contractors and told them we will reduce their payments Aug. 1,” he said. “They would have the choice of receiving those reduced payments for the work they’ve done or they could choose to stop construction until the crisis is averted.”

    This is unacceptable and demonstrates a complete lack of leadership by those in Charleston. The governor should call an emergency session of the legislature focused on resolving our transportation issues, not push them off on someone else but as the #2 state in federal tax dollars received versus federal tax dollars paid, West Virginia has spent far too long looking for someone else to solve our problems. I for one am sick and tired of this "welfare" mentality our leaders possess.

    • Bitmapped

      What exactly do you expect WVDOH to do? Without 80% federal reimbursement (or 100% in the case of Corridor H), the state's money is only going to go so far. You can't pay for work if you don't have the money.

      • Savage

        Well I guess it will just have to be a toll road, that's always popular. The new Charleston District Office on Smith Street was funded some how. Could they have used the old one a litter longer? Yes. Do you see many of there vehicles older than five years old? No. I can't afford a new one every five years. I'll bet that new office will have new furniture at what cost. Did we need the bike lane? No. Quit sending employees home in a state ride with the state footing the fuel cost. I could go on and on, after a while it all adds up. I know a lot of the suggestions which I know are not popular but I can come up with the 80%. The worst of the problem, it kicks the can down the road on other important projects.

      • Aaron

        I don't expect the DOH to do anything. I expect the Governor, Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leader to actually lead. Is that too much to ask? If they have to raise taxes directed at fixing our roads, then that is what they should do.

        • The bookman

          Aaron,

          Here's an article worth reading.

          http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-10/crumbling-roads-in-oil-fields-slowing-u-s-energy-boom.html

          • Aaron

            Many of the roads in WV are in the same condition. Route 7 from New Martinsville to Morgantown is a mess, to the point that traffic often slows to below 20 mph simply to navigate the crumbling roadways. Route 18, 74, 23, 20 and parts of 250 are in the same condition and what used to be county asphalt roads in Tyler, Wetzel, Doddridge, Monongalia County are are nothing more than gravel roads now. That is why I believe that a portion of all natural gas production should be taxed and the revenue directed back to local infrastructure.

    • Savage

      Right on, I am sick and tired of funding mismanagement. As for calling the legislatures up they would probably get side tracked on something less crucial like modifying the road kill bill.

      I to think we should be less dependent on the Fed's, as a second option we could send Eric Wells and Brent Walker to D.C. and unveil the revised plan for Corridor H with bike lanes. Look at such wasteful spending along McCorkle between St. Albans and S. Charleston. When this was done they had to USE the money or Loose it.

      I personally would have rather lost it than waste it. Who in there right mind wants to ride a bike that close to traffic running 50 mph. I've seen more wheel chairs using the bike lanes than bikes. We as motorists will now get penalized if we crowd a bike rider thanks to Wells. I'll be the first to admit there would be nothing to complain about if bike riders, wheel chair operators had to have there transportation state inspected, carry insurance, and licensed through the state. State inspections, license, fuel taxes build and maintain our road ways, not dreams of kamikaze bike riders. I'd like to ride my ATV down public roads to but don't for safety and because it's against the law. I know I'm probably wrong and their probably right, well let them write the check because I'm tired of them signing mine.

      • Aaron

        As part of my job, I look at every DOH Letting and you're only touching the tip of the iceberg. The amount of waste in unimaginable. My favorite is the intermodal facility that West Virginia taxpayers are constructing in Prtichard for CSX at a cost of more than $30 million.