Local lawmakers want W.Va. governor to stick to his roads plan


    On Thursday, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced that he would be finding new ways to fund the repair of state secondary roads. That could include pulling from the "Roads to Prosperity" funds. While secondary roads in Ohio and Marshall counties need a lot of work, a few local legislators don't like that plan.

    On Thursday, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced that he would be finding new ways to fund the repair of state secondary roads.

    That could include pulling from the "Roads to Prosperity" funds.

    While secondary roads in Ohio and Marshall counties need a lot of work, a few local legislators don't like that plan.

    “By no means am I saying secondary roads don't deserve attention, but I think the bond project -- the Roads to Prosperity project -- was meant for major projects,” State Senator Bill Ihlenfeld said.

    That includes the I-70 project set to start later this year.

    Ihlenfeld sent Justice a letter to express his disagreement.

    “Over 70 percent of the people in the state supported – 88 percent of the voters in Ohio County supported it,” Ihlenfeld said. “We expect him to live up to his promise. So, my message to him is to keep his promise. Fix the roads, fix the bridges and don't take money away from this project that we all supported when he brought it to us in 2017.”

    Meanwhile, Marshall County Delegate Joe Canestraro knows first-hand how bad secondary roads are in his county.

    His goal in this past legislative session was to get more funding for those problems.

    But he thinks getting money from places like oil and gas companies would be better than dipping into other projects.

    “That way, we wouldn't have to divert money from the road bond and these projects like the I-70 bridge project, we would have that money go to that project and we would have separate money coming in to fix secondary roads,” Canestraro said.

    He says Marshall County has more than 700 road slips right now, and something needs to be done to fix those issues.

    So, he's urging the governor to listen to these many grievances and make moves that will help everybody in the state.

    “You gotta be accountable to the people of West Virginia. If they make a complaint, it needs to be investigated and work needs to be done,” Canestraro said.

    Justice did say that even with his focus on secondary roads, the I-70 project will still get done.

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