By October 8, 2017 Read More →

West Virginia Roads to Prosperity bond referendum gets green light

Governor Justice thanks voters for support

WHEELING, W.Va. — West Virginia voters said “yes” Saturday to Gov. Jim Justice’s “Roads To Prosperity” plan to revitalize the state’s highways, job prospects and economy.

The West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office reported late Saturday that 87,751 voters — almost 73 percent — cast ballots in favor of a referendum permitting the West Virginia Legislature to authorize the sale of $1.6 billion in general obligation bonds to finance highway improvements. Just 32,759 voted against the measure.

Voter turnout statewide for Saturday’s special election was only about 10 percent. Turnout in the Northern Panhandle exceeded the statewide figure, but was still low.

A jubilant Justice thanked the state’s voters from Charleston after the results were announced.

“I didn’t take this job for any (reason) whatsoever for me,” Justice said. “We have to have jobs and opportunities, and this will do it. Now, we have to make every single effort we can to make sure as many West Virginians are hired as possible. Then we reach out to those who have had to leave to get a job. They now have a real opportunity to have a job in West Virginia.”

Justice once again assured West Virginians their taxes will not be increased to pay for the road bond.

The Legislature already approved higher Division of Motor Vehicles fees and gasoline taxes that will fund the bond payments.

Justice also said he would call a special session for sometime in November to iron out final details surrounding the bond’s passage.

“Now the work starts,” Justice said. “The hiring starts, the jobs come and the revenue comes. This is an unbelievable moment in West Virginia. This is our starting point. We’ll build on this. This will not be the end. It will be the start. “

Standing alongside Justice were first lady Cathy Justice, Secretary of Transportation Tom Smith and Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson.

Carmichael said his belief in democracy was revitalized on Saturday.

“People saw the value of fixing our roads, putting people back to work and controlling our expenses… ,” he said. “Putting aside all the negative overtones … frankly, this was the easiest vote anyone could have.”

The most expensive item on the list of projects to be funded by the road bond is a $172.5 million project to revitalize bridges in Ohio County. Ohio County’s voter turnout on Saturday was 12.47 percent.

Another $80 million would be spent to widen W.Va. 2 to four lanes between Proctor and Kent in Marshall County, and $11 million to widen W.Va. 2 through New Cumberland. Marshall County’s voter turnout was 11.9 percent; and Hancock County’s, 7.4 percent.

Brooke County had a turnout of 8 percent; and Wetzel County, 6.5 percent.

Voting results will not become official until a canvass of votes which is set to happen at 9 a.m. Friday in each county.

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