By October 5, 2017 Read More →

What the road bond would mean for Logan County

By NANCY PEYTON

The Logan Banner

LOGAN, W.Va. — Early voting in the special election for the “Roads to Prosperity” plan from Gov. Jim Justice has come to a close, but voters will have one more opportunity to visit the polls Saturday.

 

Justice has made a push in recent weeks for the road bond, including a stop in Logan Sept. 21.

“We have an opportunity, and the opportunity is right around the corner to finally do something in West Virginia that will head us on the right path,” Justice said during the town hall.

 “There is a lot of exciting things going on, and believe it or not there is a lot of goodness heading our way.”

Voter turnout for early voting was low both across the state and in Logan County.

Only about 2 percent of registered voters in West Virginia have taken part in the special election during the early voting period, according to the latest information from the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office. As of 9 a.m. Tuesday, 24,864 people out of more than 1.2 million registered voters had cast ballots early for the road bond referendum.

The county clerk’s office in Logan County said as of 11 a.m. Wednesday, only 243 people in the county had been out to vote.

The city of Logan began its own long-awaited paving projects at the end of the summer to improve infrastructure. Serafino Nolletti, mayor of the city of Logan, said he and the city council are “in support” of the road bond passage. The council passed a resolution in favor of the plan.

Jeremy Farley, a Chapmanville native and current member of the Logan County Board of Education, said even though he knows the roads in Logan and across the state need maintenance, he does not feel the “Roads to Prosperity” plan is the answer.

“Although we desperately need road maintenance here in Logan County, I’m opposed to the Roads to Prosperity amendment,” Farley said. “Quite simply, I’m against the state of West Virginia incurring $1.6 billion in new debt to help so few counties. I’ve listened to the arguments being made for passage of this Amendment, and I remain unconvinced of its benefits. In fact, the more research I’ve done, the more I think this a classic bait-and-switch scheme.”

Justice has said on numerous occasions that taxes will not increase with the passage of the road bond.

“You have been told that your taxes are going to go up that is totally a lie,” Justice said at the Logan town hall. “All the funding is in place and your taxes will not go up one penny.”

Farley, however, said he is not convinced of this point.

“Governor Justice claims that approval of this amendment will not increase our taxes and will create thousands of new jobs, but he can’t realistically guarantee either selling point,” Farley said. “More specifically, West Virginia workers can’t be guaranteed jobs. In the end, if this Amendment is approved, the much-hyped roads and jobs will likely be long gone by the time the twenty-five year debt is paid off.”

Department of Transportation Secretary Tom Smith said during the Logan town hall that failing passage of this plan would be a “missed opportunity for a good investment.”

“It would be a tremendous missed opportunity for economic recovery, a tremendous missed opportunity for good investments,” Smith said. “Then we would have to contract all of the other work that we are trying to do, because we have cover the expensive projects with the dollar we have.”

The Secretary of State’s Office will be open Saturday to aid voters and will also update its website with live election results starting at the close of polls at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. To view those results, go to http://services.sos.wv.gov/apps/elections/results/.

Nancy Peyton is a news reporter for HD Media. Follow her on Twitter @NancyMPeyton.

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