Weren’t roads a No. 1 priority for lawmakers?

An editorial from The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Stop reading now if you are one of the six people whose vehicle has not suffered from this winter’s devastation.

You just wouldn’t understand.

We ’re not talking about dead batteries, windshields encased in ice or grunge-covered vehicles.

No, it’s the condition of the roads that continue to stand out this year.

Clearly, we didn’t expect some kind of evangelistic effort in the Legislature during the ongoing

However, judging by the statements of the more than 40-plus candidates we interviewed this
past fall, we thought roads were the big issue.

You know, a top priority, atop the list, No. 1.

As of Friday afternoon, nearly 1,600 bills had been introduced in the Legislature. Among the 575 bills introduced in the state Senate, we found four that might change the direction our highway infrastructure is going.

Though we cannot speculate how many of the 1,000 bills introduced in the House are directly
related to road repair, only two have got any traction, so far:

* House Bill 2008 calls for up to a $500,000 audit of the state Division of Highways (DOH);

* HB 2571 creates a fund for pothole repairs contributed to by private businesses or entities;

We should note that one of those Senate bills, SB 258, the Letting Our Counties Act Locally Act, is promising.

It was also inspired and prepared by Monongalia County residents and is sponsored by all
four state senators from our region. It allows counties to raise their sales tax up to 1 percent to fund road projects.

We like the idea, but as we have stated in the past, we object to who gets to sign off on the
projects and raise the sales tax. But that’s another argument for another day.

What ’s particularly troubling today is for every proposal that would attempt to repair our
roads, there are practically 10 gun bills.

Another priority we heard from legislative candidates in 2014 was job creation, which goes
hand in hand with road construction.

Where is the major infrastructure bill that would authorize the state to sell $1 billion in bonds
that we could start spending at once on roads?

Where is the move to waive the 1.1 cent drop in the variable fuel tax this year and save the State Road Fund $15 million?

The Legislature’s session ends March 14.

The egregious condition of our roads is not going to end anytime soon. Or later.

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