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W.Va. ranks near bottom for rural road conditions

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — Chalk up rural roads as another national category that West Virginia has earned a low ranking among the 50 U.S. states. According to a survey by TRIP, a National Transportation Research Group, the Mountain State ranks third behind Connecticut and Rhode Island with 33 percent of its rural roads in poor condition.

West Virginia does a little better in the percentage of deficient rural bridges with only 13 percent, putting the state in 19th place, where No. 1, is Pennsylvania with 25 percent deficient. However, West Virginia is third behind South Carolina and Florida in “Fatality rate rural/all other roads, according to the TRIP study.

“A modern, well-maintained West Virginia transportation system is of vital importance to the state’s economy, particularly in helping to preserve the jobs of so many industries and drive new opportunities,” Carol Fulks, chair of West Virginians for Better Transportation was quoted in a press release as stating. She added that the state needs “long-term funding plans,” using state and federal funds “To address the current problems and to meet future expansion projects.”

State Delegate Marty Gearheart, R-Mercer, said that Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin established a Blue Ribbon Commission of Highways in early 2012, but he said that while the final report was due in February 2013, but later delayed until May 2013, “the commission has never been issued to the governor. It seems we have either lost focus on this or the results of the commission were undesirable…

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