WASHINGTON, D.C. — Some smaller contractors in West Virginia were getting ready to layoff workers had not Congress approved funding to continue the federal Highway Trust Fund through next May. The U.S. Senate signed off on the House bill Thursday night steering the fund away from insolvency.

Contractors Association of West Virginia Executive Director Mike Clowser said the group’s members were already making decisions about whether to keep on working without federal funds or close shop. The West Virginia DOH told them they would receive half of what they were owed.

“Some were going to continue just because they had to get the work done before bad weather set in. Smaller firms did not have the luxury of doing that and probably were going to have to shut down,” Clowser said.

The approved bill provides $11.9 billion to reauthorize the program until May 31, 2015. Clowser said what Congress should do now is pass a six-year federal highway bill instead of the band-aid approach. He said the current process builds uncertainty.

“Without a multi-year deal West Virginia and other states are going to be right back in the same situation we are today,” Clowser maintained. “They are going to be hesitant to start major road programs fearing funding will run out before they complete the project.”

Clowser said it’s also time for state leaders to address the state Road Fund. A panel appointed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin worked on the issue last year but provisions of the plan have yet to be addressed.

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Comments

  • Gary Keiffer

    I came up with multiple ideas. They were sent to a state Senator in Raleigh County, A Delegate in Raleigh County who also made sure the ideas went to the governors office. I have had no feed back whatsoever. Here are just a few ideas. (1) Put tolls on Route 35 and other major road construction. (2) Sell off state owned property off key highways. This helps with money for roads and spurs new business which means more taxes for the state. Sell Timber off state owned property. Just a few of the ideas I came up with.

  • Dumb Liberals

    WV roads to No Where are back in business.

  • Dumb Liberals

    Typical liberal gloom and doom to instill panic in the entitlement slaves the liberals created.

    • In da stickes

      You would have opposed the first function of our government in the new world: Building roads in the wilderness so that we could tame this country.

    • Guardian

      Entitlements definitely need to be cut - some are needed, but there is plenty of room for cutting.

      However, roads are a basic function of government and our politicians shirking their responsibility to fund them and we taxpayers threatening revolt if we have to pay for them is wrong thinking on both sides.

      Tax me for entitlements when I'm working my butt off everyday and I am angry.

      Tax me to build modern, safe highways - while I may find it painful, I at least understand the value and I do concede that I have to pay my share to get the end result.

  • Guardian

    "Clowser said it’s also time for state leaders to address the state Road Fund. A panel appointed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin worked on the issue last year but provisions of the plan have yet to be addressed."

    Yet in the regular session of the legislature, our senators and delegates grandstanded on the Charleston water crisis because they could take action on that issue which would be "popular" with voters, while letting the absolute necessity of taking action on the road fund and letting the good work the blue-ribbon road panel did languish in limbo.

    Taking action on the blue-ribbon panel's recommendations would have been unpopular because the only way we can fix the problem is to pay to fix it. They were scared to do what is right.

    We are poorly served in the legislature and we should be horse whipped if we re-elect one single incumbent - no matter which party, they were all guilty of ignoring this vital issue.

    • The Truth

      Guardian,

      Good points about the Blue Ribbon Commission, but why isn't anyone talking about the Governor vetoing the DMV Bill when he was Acting Governor? The DMV Bill passed both Chambers, Senate and House, with an overwhelming majority to address the situation where they didn't have to worry about getting reelected. However, our Governor decided to veto that bill thinking it would secure his spot, as he had to run for Governor, not appoint himself. All in while this week he joined Cecil Roberts and others in Pittsburgh, PA, for the "War on Coal". Why has everybody neglected to speak to Governor Tomblin about his veto of the DMV Bill (on his decision to start on a War on Roads?)? It is a proven fact that road maintenance is vital to the safety of those traveling throughout WV. And is one of the largest employers of hard working West Virginians.

      And it is so very true; Our Legislature hid behind a Water Bill that was so vital, yet now according to our House Speaker we must revisit and change errors that were made. If we spent so much time this session on that bill could we not expect they get something right? Oh I forgot, we did get Pepperoni Rolls designated our State Food. And all West Virginians can sleep well tonight knowing that our Governor has assured dog breeders and horse breeders that their race purses will be subsidized so they want to compete at our local gaming tracks.

      It is time to fix our roads, and to do so revenue must be generated. Can we please change the people; or change the people.

    • Aaron

      This bill ensures that decision will be made by republishing should they take control the Senate in November. The problem is Speaker Boehner cannot get a bill out of the House because of the infighting among Republicans.

      That is why it is imperative that West Virginia Legislature's actually come up with some sort of transportation funding mechanism in the next legislature. With the current leadership I do not expect that to happen.

    • Aaron

      "...good work the blue-ribbon road panel did languish in limbo."

      What good work? Their biggest recommendation was to keep tolls on the turnpike for decades, a measure that would provide enough funding for one years worth of spending. Other than that, did the panel made of industry representatives actually provide any concrete recommendations?

      • Guardian

        In addition, they floated the idea of raising gas tax, adding a percent to sales tax dedicated to roads, floating bonds and building toll roads, and so forth.

        All painful, but all potential methods. Whatever action is taken is going to cost us. The work has to be done and we have to pay for it - that is the bottom line. No longer are the funds for new modern highways going to flow from Washington like they did in the 60s, 70s, and 80s when the nation was building the interstates.

        • Aaron

          They "floated" a lot of stuff but I don't recall any recommendations from their alleged good works. But I saw was a group of individuals who need for transportation funding to increase as it benefits their bottom line go around the state conditioning citizens to a tax increase and or tolls.

          I understand we have work that needs to be done and we have to pay for it. I have been very vocal and supporting a 2% increase to the sales tax so long as it's directed to roads until revenues from natural gas from the Marcella Shale can be used as means to pay for our maintenance and new roads.