Opinion

Lawmakers need better information

An editorial from The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING, W.Va. — The abuse legislators at both the state and federal levels sometimes take from the executive branch of government surprises us. One would think those who hold the purse strings, as lawmakers do, would be more inclined to demand accountability.

Some West Virginia legislators complained this week they are not being given information they want regarding part of a $126.2 million technology spending program.

At issue is about one-third of the project, which used federal “stimulus” funds in an effort to increase access to high-speed Internet service in the Mountain State. Specifically, lawmakers want to know more about $42 million in spending to lay new fiber-optic cable and make other improvements to extend broadband service.

Frontier Communications handled most of that project, and company officials insist the state got good value for taxpayers’ money.

But some legislators want to know more. During a meeting of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Technology this week, they said they would like to see detailed maps showing precisely where new fiber-optic cable has been laid.

But such maps have not been provided by Frontier or state technology officials, the lawmakers complained. “I think we’re running into a brick wall that’s being put up,” said Delegate Nancy Guthrie, D-Kanawha…

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