Future highway outlook addressed at meeting
Local government, business and community leaders from throughout the state have been invited to attend regional meetings about the challenges facing West Virginia's surface transportation system and the outlook for transportation funding.
Organizers of the meetings include West Virginians for Better Transportation (a trade group) the West Virginia Municipal League and the West Virginia Association of Counties. Legislators also will be invited to the meetings.
The closest meeting will be in Martinsburg City Council Chambers on Tuesday, October 23, from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
The meetings are intended to educate local and community leaders about the state's transportation system, challenges and the financial plight facing the State Road Fund (now and future), said Joe Deneault, chairman of West Virginians for Better Transportation.
"There are more needs facing our state's transportation system that can be met with existing and projected resources," Deneault added. "Local communities all across the state are struggling with the impacts of this situation. Moreover, many communities are going to face greater problems and issues as limited State Road Fund dollars are stretched even further."
The Secretary of State Transportation recently reported his agency will need an extra $125 million to $150 million more a year to get the state down to a 10-year paving cycle.
Last year's level of paving funds means that, on average, a road will be repaved on a 23-24 year cycle.
In addition, the state has the sixth highest number of bridges listed either as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.
"Local leaders and the public must fully understand the challenges facing the state and decide whether the current situation is acceptable or whether they are willing to work toward a long-term plan with adequate funding for our state's transportation needs," Deneault said.
Among the agenda items to be covered during the meetings are an overview of West Virginia's transportation system, a report on the highway priorities, and a discussion about the state's transportation funding outlook.
"We are hopeful these meetings around the state will generate ideas and discussion about what long-term solutions may be possible," Deneault said.