SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — As a requirement by the Federal Highway Administration for receiving federal funding for statewide transportation, the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) has to put together an improvement program.
That program, the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) for fiscal years 2020-2025, has been shown off for public comment for the last week across the state. The last stop for public comment was Monday evening in South Charleston.
“The statewide transportation improvement program lists all the projects or buckets of money for which we do the projects by county over the next four years,” Perry Keller, the Unit Leader of Statewide Planning for the WVDOT said.
“We do it for six years but it is required for four.”
Keller said the last two years done by West Virginia is for information purposes.
Keller noted that the STIP comes from federal aid, whereas secondary road projects are mostly funded through state aid.
However, a lot of secondary road projects and projects coming through Gov. Jim Justice’s road bond project are listed because the STIP requires “significant work” to be in it, Keller said.
“A lot of the projects that are funded through the governor’s initiation of the bond project or general obligation bonds they are also listed in the STIP because they are pretty big projects,” Keller said.
“Most of the money that we spend for routine maintenance is using state funds. We get state funds from the gas, tax, our DMV fees and some other fees.”
Planned obligations in the draft STIP included 29-percent toward Regional Mobility Program, 24-percent toward Bridge Program and 20-percent for Resurfacing and Preservation Program.
Nearly 80-percent of the anticipated revenue for the draft STIP is coming from Federal-Aid Highway with another 16-percent from a State/Local Match on highways.
The WVDOT also listed a summary of performance measures and targets as of September 30, 2018. West Virginia has a 99.8% rate for interstate reliability, according to the WVDOT, which Keller said is about tops in the nation.
Keller added that the WVDOT hears about the reliability and conditions from the public often on the tour, but also other ways to improve.
“We hear a lot about the projects that are ongoing and are already slated,” Keller said. “There are often projects that people would like in their area that hasn’t made it on to the list because we don’t have the finances to move them forward.”
After the public forums on the STIP are finished on Monday evening, Keller said there is a 45-day waiting period for additional comments.
At the end of that period, the WVDOT will take a final look at the STIP and then send it to the Federal Highway Administration for final approval.