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Justice to discuss road bond in Elkins

Staff report

The Inter-Mountain

ELKINS, W.Va.  — Gov. Jim Justice will be making a stop today in Elkins to discuss the upcoming “Roads to Prosperity” bond referendum that will be voted on during an Oct. 7 special election.

Gov. Jim Justice

Justice will be taking part in a town hall meeting at 2:30 p.m. today at the West Virginia Wood Technology Institute, located at 10 11th St. in Elkins.

During the special election, state voters will have the opportunity to vote for or against passing a referendum for a constitutional amendment to authorize the sale of road bonds as part of the “Roads to Prosperity” initiative. If approved, it would give the West Virginia Legislature authority to issue $1.6 billion in bonds over the next four years, allowing for major bridge work, highway improvements and construction throughout the Mountain State.

The special election will include an early-voting period in the two weeks leading up to the referendum, and it will occur in all 55 counties.

In a news release this summer, Justice said passing the bond referendum will allow state voters to help create 48,000 jobs.

“Passing the Roads to Prosperity Amendment will open up the economic arteries of West Virginia and bring new job opportunities across the state. This bond will give us the ability to fix our potholes, repair bridges, and complete major construction projects. Voting ‘YES’ for this bond is a vote for a brighter future and hope for all of our people,” he said in the release.

Justice recently said it’s not a partisan issue, and the bonds will not raise taxes.

“The funding mechanisms to support this bonding have already been put in place by the Legislature,” he said in a statement Aug. 22. “Our roads and bridges are crumbling in West Virginia and we’ve got to modernize our transportation system. At the same time we also need to make sure the people get what they pay for and that is an effective, efficient, accountable road system — and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”

The Randolph County Development Authority passed a resolution last week in support of the bond referendum, highlighting a $90 million undertaking to expand Corridor H in Tucker County as one of the main reasons of offering support for the referendum.

“A complete, fully functioning Corridor H will spur economic development throughout many industries including manufacturing, tourism, commerce, recreation … hardwoods, and agriculture in an around the highway, and will provide businesses with direct access to the global market through the inland port near Front Royal, Virginia,” part of the resolution says.

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