Roadwork intensifies on the West Virginia Land Line

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A week ago, Governor Jim Justice called state lawmakers back for a special session devoted to economic policy and roadwork.

Already planning to be in Charleston for regular interim committee meetings, lawmakers introduced, voted on, and approved two bills to increase highway funding.

Shortly thereafter, the governor signed into law two bills to direct unrestricted 2021 surplus revenue from the state’s general fund to the highways division of the Department of Transportation.

The first bill, SB4002, takes advantage of the state budget surplus to pay for minor road improvements around the state. The bill transfers $150 million for maintenance work.

The second bill, SB4003, specifies that $125 million will be used for roadwork projects. The remaining $25 million will be allocated for equipment.

The West Virginia Department of Transportation says nearly 500 paving projects remain for the year. The projects represent nearly 800 miles of work. Over 29,000 projects have been completed so far this year.

Justice told a news conference that at least two paving projects will be completed in each of the state’s 55 counties. The roadwork projects will represent 1,423 miles of track.

“When I came here, we had no way to take care of our roads,” he said. “We have resurfaced all over this state. We’re gonna keep pouring it and we’re gonna hit all the roads before it’s over. »

Second round for the roads

The most recent action at the Statehouse marks the second time in as many years that state lawmakers have approved legislation that uses money available to the state to increase funding for transportation.

Justice also convened a special session in July 2021 to address the need to tap into a surplus to help transport projects.

House and Senate lawmakers approved legislation authorizing $150 million in additional funding for the state’s Highways Division. The money was transferred from the state’s General Revenue Fund to the Road Fund.

The governor said that at the time, passage of the 2021 legislation allowed the state to complete 402 secondary road projects in all 55 counties. The work included 742 miles of road surfacing and the repair of 40 bridges. LL

More landline coverage of West Virginia news is available.

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