By March 12, 2019 Read More →

Secondary road repair led to WV transportation chief’s firing

By PHIL KABLER

Charleston Gazette-Mail

Gov. Jim Justice (left) and state Transportation Secretary Tom Smith at a news conference in the fall of 2017, after West Virginia voters approved a huge bond sale for road construction. Justice fired Smith on Sunday, saying it was time for a “new direction” toward fixing West Virginia’s secondary roads.
(Gazette-Mail file photo by Kenny Kemp)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A difference of opinion with Gov. Jim Justice over how to fix crumbling secondary roads in West Virginia apparently led the governor to fire veteran highways engineer Tom Smith as state Transportation secretary on Sunday night.

One day after the regular legislative session concluded without resolving concerns over secondary roads, Justice issued a two-sentence statement announcing Smith’s firing:

“I want a new direction to be taken with our Department of Transportation, a return to the core mission of maintaining the quality of our secondary roads and bridges,” the governor said. “I sincerely appreciate the service Tom has given to the State of West Virginia.”

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