Opinion

State leaders have rough roads to hoe — literally

A column by Matt Harvey, assistant managing editor of The Exponent Telegram 

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Our state’s pothole problem isn’t a breaking story.

In fact, it’s lingered, festered, mushroomed — pick a descriptive word — until it’s really just yesterday’s news.

But it’s reached a point where lack of action could hurt the state’s future for years to come.

On a recent trip to Ohio and back, the difference in highway conditions was, to state it bluntly, different. Interstate 77 in Ohio was pretty much free of road damage; but cross the Ohio River bridge into West Virginia, and it was crater city.

And that’s a major four-lane national artery.

U.S. highways, state routes, county routes and city and town streets are even worse; the problems on the interstates are just magnified because we’re traveling at 70 mph.

So, what’s going on?

The last time our roads were this bad was in the 1990s, following the recession that eventually built to a boom.

By late in that decade and during the first decade of our century, many of our roads were smooth as glass.

But prosperity didn’t last forever, and we sunk into an even worse recession that we’re only fully emerging from now.

So the economy is part of the problem, but that isn’t all of it…

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