Mayor encourages constituents to vote for road bond


West Virginia residents will decide the future of Governor Jim Justice's "Road to Prosperity" plan on Saturday with a special election.

After dealing with numerous road issues, New Cumberland Mayor Richard Blackwell is encouraging residents to vote for the bond.

On October 7, residents will head to the polls to vote for or against the plan, which involves more than $1.6 billion in road projects for West Virginia.

A 16-page document outlines the potential projects and that includes $35 million in roadwork in Brooke and Hancock counties. For Blackwell, if the road bond referendum passes, he hopes it will give the northern panhandle a new route 2.

“It's a safety factor,” Blackwell said. “I mean Ridge Avenue is narrow. It's a small 2-lane.”

“I've lost friends on Route 2,” he continued. “I don't need to lose anymore. I think improving the road, making it wider, whatever they got to do will certainly lessen the number of accidents.”

Gov. Justice recently visited the northern panhandle to answer questions about the road bond referendum.

He says voting against the plan could do more harm than good.

“There's no downside to a yes vote,” Justice said. “A no vote will paralyze us. We have nowhere else to turn, how will we fund an incredible deficit and what will happen to our roads; they'll get worse.”

Leaders say a yes vote won't cost residents any more when it comes to taxes, but there could be price increases in other areas, like license fees and the gasoline tax.

“I believe the governor,” Blackwell said. “I believe that it's not going to affect our taxes. Our taxes. Is it going to mean gas will go up a little bit? Yes. Is it going to mean you have to pay a little bit more for your license tag? You know it used to be $30 and now it's going to $50. Yes.”

Justice says this plan is about bringing jobs to West Virginia, fixing roads, and boosting the economy all around.

“Build it and they will come will not necessarily work with a business,” Blackwell said. “Businesses look at what kind of traffic flow am I going to get.”

Blackwell says the passing of the road bond should be very important to his constituents.

“It will benefit everybody, so get out and vote for it,” he said.

Polls open for the special election throughout the mountain state at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday and close at 7:30 p.m. The road bond issue is the only thing on the ballot and you can either vote yes or no.

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