CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice, state Senate President Craig Blair and others have indicated this week some of the more than $400 million that will be leftover from the revenues collected last fiscal year will go toward highway maintenance work.
Contractors Association of West Virginia Executive Director Jason Pizatella said that money, combined with other funds, including federal money coming to the state for roads and bridges is unmatched in state history.
“I don’t use the word unprecedented very lightly but I think it’s appropriate here,” Pizatella said during a Friday appearance on MetroNews “Talkline.” “It really is an unprecedented amount of money dedicated to infrastructure.”
Gov. Justice may propose up to $150 million in surplus funds to go to highway projects in an August special session of the legislature.
“I know there’s been discussion, and I certainly won’t speak for the Legislature or the governor, about whether some of those dollars might go into highways — because in the past we have allocated surplus dollars year in and year out to help catch up all the deferred maintenance on our highways,” state Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy said earlier this week.
“So we’re in a wonderful situation. It’s because there’s been fiscal strength in our budget.”
Pizatella said the state Division of Highways has made a lot of progress on core maintenance issues in recent years but when you’re tasked with taking care of 35,000 road miles and 7,000 bridges the work is never over.
“There’s more to do and I think (DOH) Commissioner (Jimmy) Wriston will say there’s more to do,” Pizatella said.
There’s a lot of be excited about, Pizatella said, when you combine the maintenance work, the ongoing Roads to Prosperity projects and the $3.8 billion coming in the next five years for roads and bridges as part of the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Pizatella said members of his organization will be ready to go.
“We’ve got members that are extremely busy right now. We’ve got members that are really busy right now and we’ve got some members, in a few pockets of the state, are ready to go to work for whatever Governor Justice, Commissioner Wriston and the legislature decide to do in August,” he said.
Infrastructure Funds website
The governor’s office has announced upgrades to its comprehensive infrastructure website to follow how federal highway funds and other monies from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act are spent. The state is expected to get $7 billion through 2027.
According to a governor’s office news release, the West Virginia Infrastructure Hub “is designed to efficiently distribute IIJA funds throughout the Mountain State. The website aims to ensure that the historic investment in infrastructure is distributed to where it is needed most.”
“We have a ton of infrastructure projects already going, with more on the way,” Gov. Justice said. “This website is the most accurate and transparent way for people to keep track of how federal dollars are being spent on those projects around the state. There is a lot of money rolling into West Virginia right now, and this is how you can keep track of how it is being used for you.”