CHARLESTON, W.Va. – There’s a movement in Washington that could impact road construction projects right here in West Virginia. Some Republicans are pushing for reducing funding to the National Highway Trust Fund.

Jennifer Smith/MetroNews

West Virginia Third District Congressman Nick Rahall spoke at Monday’s transportation summit in Charleston.

The West Virginia Transportation & Infrastructure Summit held in Charleston on Monday hosted speakers voicing their concerns about funding cuts, including U.S. Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin and Third District Congressman Nick Rahall.

“We can not devolve all of our transportation back to the states as some members of the U.S. Congress would have us do,” stressed Rahall. “We did not build our interstate system that way. If we had a system of that nature, we’d have a system going right up to the state line and then falling off a cliff!”

Another speaker at the event, Pete Ruane with the American Road and Transportation Builders Associaton said the Trust Fund, as it stands right now, is critical to the economy.

“It generates on the order of $300 billion in economic benefits. It employs at least 3 million people. Without the federal government, particularly the U.S. Congress, renewing the trust fund in the next two weeks then there could be on the order of 700,000 jobs lost in the next 6 months,” stressed Ruane.

According to Ruane, states rely on anywhere from 50 to 90 percent of their highway funding coming from the federal government’s trust fund.

“In West Virginia, in fact, 61 percent of its capital program is dependent on federal financing. That’s what makes it so important,” stressed Ruane. “Seven states have said they will stop programs all together. In West Virginia, I think they’re going to stop some projects and only reimburse maybe 50-cents on the dollar for those projects that do continue.”

Rahall is taking a positive approach to the deadline saying, “Cooler heads will prevail.” He said both parties know just how important the highway funding is to the economy and cutting that would be devastating. But he also stressed, it’s not just about financing projects, to spend money.

“We need to step up and realize that infrastructure funding isn’t just another spending program. It’s an investment in our collective future,” according to Rahall.

The full House will vote on extending the National Highway Trust Fund this week. Rahall said it has broad bipartisan support. The Senate is also expected to take a vote before next week’s deadline.

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Comments

  • To the Raleigh

    Before everyone just thinks raising taxes will pay for the roads. Stop and look at what we are already spending our money on. Last year our government spent 24BILLION DOLLARS on foreign aid. Another 14 BILLION on training other militaries. Also, the government wasted 28 BILLION on projects such as the 1 MILLION DOLLAR Bus Stop in Washington DC and NASA's Green Nija. So, perhaps we could save a little of that money and pay for all our highway needs first. Just a thought!

  • Jus Wonderin

    Nothing personal Wise Guy.... I mean Vienna Guy..

  • Gary Karstens

    As you can see, the Democrats are the ones trying to be thinkers.....trying to be problem-solvers. No Republicans at this think-tank consortium. Rahall and Rockefellar....trying to help the working man.

    Republicans.....looking to benefit the already wealthy......YEESH!

  • Haley's Comet

    It is a simple formula.....

    We must resolve ourselves to Raising Revenue to maintain and build new roads.

    Some of the options; while painful are:

    Raising Taxes or Fees

    Placing Tolls On New Construction and existing four lane roads

    • Dumb Liberals

      Or, how about eliminating welfare, entitlement programs, subsidies for everything, and foreign aid to any country that refuses to comply with our laws and restrictions. Play by our rules or lose the cash influx.

  • Dumb Liberals

    Nothing like have 3 m0r0n supporters, Carpetbagger & racist Jay (d), No-Show Joe (d) and soon to be former congressman Rahall (d) stating its the Republicans' fault. Yep, you can take everything they say to the bank and then write a check that will bounce higher than missed layup by the m0r0n himself. That was a bs session that wasted more of our tax dollars.

    • Dumb Liberals

      Here's a simple solution - Pay to Play!

  • James Dietz

    The federal government is only responsible for the interstate system. That would be I 79, I 77, I 64 etc. The rest are state roads. Why should we her in WV
    Insist on residents in other states to pay for upgrades to 460 or 52? Expecting the federal government to pay for everything is self defeating. I am a BIG believer in states rights but that means the states have to take care of themselves.

    • Aaron

      I agree the federal government should only pay for US roads which is why, in addition to Interstates 68, 70 and 81, US Highways 460, 60, 35, and 220 should be included as well.

  • Savage

    Not to blame any one particular person, but they all have a hand in where we stand today. I haven't seen a shining star for quite some time, send them all home.

    • Jonus Grumby

      Savage, this is the best post so far. Tossing out the status-quot is tempting, but how do we get this particular problem rectified?

  • Jus Wonderin

    OK you Brilliant Intellectual types who blame Obama for everything, how you going to twist this one. Maybe you can get Capito to make a position statement on this..??..

    • ViennaGuy

      I am not one of those who "blames Obama for everything," but I do have to point out that Obama's push for higher fuel economy standards has the consequence of reducing income to the highway trust fund. Higher fuel economy = less fuel bought = less fuel tax revenue for the highway trust fund.

      You can't have it both ways.

      • Jonus Grumby

        I am certainly NOT an Obama supporter, but we are facing a problem here. And blame is never a strategy. How do we best fix this?

      • WV Roads

        Let's not forget the gas tax hasn't been adjusted since 1993. That was 21 years ago...

        • ViennaGuy

          It doesn't matter when the gas tax was last raised. Boosting fuel economy reduces fuel consumption, which reduces tax revenue. It's simple math.

      • Tom

        So it is Obama's fault. Thank goodness you found a way for him to take the blame. I was worried that he might squirm out from under this crisis.

      • Jus Wondern

        Geez, that's a great point. Let's get rid of all vehicles that get over 10 mpg so we have to buy more gas so we can collect more gas tax so we can fix the highways.. This is why I never join in these conversations, you guys are way ahead of me...

        • ViennaGuy

          - Geez, that's a great point. Let's get rid of all vehicles that get over 10 mpg so we have to buy more gas so we can collect more gas tax so we can fix the highways.. -

          Where did I say that, wise guy?

          Oh, yeah, you're putting words in my mouth to (try and) make yourself look good.

          So what's your solution?

          • ViennaGuy

            "Brain damage"? Jus, feel free to keep up those personal attacks that make you look foolish. :-)

          • Jus Wondern

            It was your formula Genius.. What is your solution, besides mentioning Obama? I know you really look for facts before you speak, such as, every administration since Nixon has proposed legislation to increase fuel economy, but somehow this information doesn't make it to your posts. My solution.. Get your idiot Repubilcan friends in the House of Reps to pass the legislation to fund the Highway Trust to fix the potholes so you don't hit your head on the roof of your vehicle anymore, creating more brain damage and allowing you to make such brilliant statements.