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Marion County officials weigh in on road bond issue


NCWV Media

FAIRMONT, W.Va.  — Nearly $70 million would go towards road work in Marion County if the statewide road bond is passed this October, including a $60 million project to widen Interstate 79 to three lanes between White Hall and Pleasant Valley.

If passed, the bond would allow the state to sell bonds to finance up to $3 billion in road projects, which will be paid off with fee and tax increase that Gov. Jim Justice signed into law in June.

The fee and tax increase went into effect on July 1, and include increased DMV fees and vehicle purchase taxes. The increases will bring in an estimated $130 million per year, which will be used to pay off the bond debts.

Both officials and citizens from around the state are split on the issue, including Delegate Guy Ward, R-Marion, who said that the vote should have taken place before the tax and fee increases.

“I don’t like the fact that the money was appropriated before the citizens got a chance to vote on it,” Ward, also the White Hall Mayor, said. “When I was in legislature, I voted against the appropriations, because I wanted people to vote for it and then if it was approved by the people, I was okay with it.”

Other Marion County officials, like County Commission President Ernie VanGilder, are against the road bond, as well.

“They’re telling people that it’s not going to cost us any more, but they’ve already billed us more,” VanGilder said.

However, there is also a great deal of support for the process. Marion County Chamber of Commerce President Tina Shaw noted how many of the projects would make travelling across the county easier.

“We certainly don’t want these old bridges to be a hazard and there are several,” Shaw said. “To get to places like Mannington and Fairview and Farmington and Rivesville, you have to go over bridges, and these bridges are in desperate need of replacement and several of those are on this list.”

Shaw said that the increased safety and convenience that the projects would secure would in turn promote business growth throughout the county.

“Next to (Monongalia) County, we’re getting the most money in North Central West Virginia,” Shaw said. “We very much need this money, because infrastructure is everything. The easier you can get around Marion County, the better it is for the business community.”

The following projects are scheduled for Marion County if the bond passes:

  • Middletown Road resurfacing — $376,411
  • Plum Run Road PO paving — $200,000
  • I-79 Expressway drainage rehab — $700,000
  • I-79 widening between South Fairmont and Pleasant Valley — $60,000,000
  • Jamison #9 Bridge replacement — $1,384,000
  • Prickett Creek W-Beam replacement — $721,000
  • Monongah Pre-Cast replacement — $968,000
  • Pine Grove Arch replacement — $753,000
  • Slide repair throughout county — $500,000
  • NHS pavement reconstruction and rehabilitation — $1,338,000
  • Non-NHS pavement reconstruction and rehabilitation — $2,242,000

Voting on the road bond issue will occur Oct. 7, with early voting taking place from Sept. 22 to Oct. 4.

See more from The Preston County News and Journal



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