In case your highway is pitted with potholes or rippled like W.Va. 7’s Hogback Flip, has overgrown foliage spilling into the roadway or grass taller than you alongside the ditches or medians, then there’s an excellent probability you reside alongside a state-maintained highway.
That’s not a assure, however it’s a good guess. And it’s why horrible roads had been the subject of an off-the-cuff assembly between Mon County commissioners and representatives from the Metropolis of Morgantown and Star Metropolis final week. Native municipalities have been dedicating some huge cash and energy to sustaining and repairing city-owned streets, however they aren’t allowed to the touch state-owned roads — of which there are numerous — working via and in between cities and out into the county.
And the county and cities have repeatedly requested the Division of Highways to deal with these drawback roads, requesting face-to-face conferences with DOH and proposing attainable options. In response, they’ve acquired nothing however crickets. (In protection of DOH District 4 — made up of Monongalia, Preston, Marion, Harrison, Doddridge and Taylor counties — it’s severely understaffed and wishes extra help from the central workplace.)
Throughout final week’s assembly, Morgantown Metropolis Supervisor Kim Haws made a legitimate level: “I hate to say it, however politics play a giant position with DOH and people areas that appear to get essentially the most consideration across the state have essentially the most lively state-level politicians.”
Our native delegates and senators have been making an attempt for a very long time to get consideration for Mon County roads, nevertheless, since most of our representatives have a “D” subsequent to their names, the Republican supermajority has largely ignored them. However now there are two Republicans — Sen. Mike Oliverio and Delegate Joe Statler — talking on our behalf.
Since they’re members of the bulk social gathering, we want them to be louder.
A part of the issue is the state isn’t obligated to comply with its personal formulation for allocating highway funds — which has resulted in District 4 being shortchanged an estimated $7 million to $8 million per 12 months. In 2019, Delegate John Williams proposed a regulation to implement a road-funding formulation that may take utilization and inhabitants, not simply variety of miles, into consideration. His invoice handed the Legislature, however Gov. Jim Justice vetoed it.
Sadly, the invoice hasn’t been capable of garner the identical bipartisanship since, continually languishing in committee — even those Oliverio and Statler launched within the final common session. We suspect District 4 isn’t the one one getting shortchanged and the invoice would probably obtain ample bipartisan help if it might ever make it to a full-chamber vote. However for that to occur, Oliverio and Statler want to search out fellow Republicans who can get the payments previous the committee.
And if the funding formulation will get an excessive amount of pushback from the DOH (because it has up to now), then we want our representatives to advocate for a compromise.
Morgantown has already provided to both take possession of sure state roads that run inside the metropolis, or to do the work — because it has the manpower and assets — and be reimbursed by the state when the work is full. This may occasionally truly be the higher choice, particularly if different municipalities get onboard. It will enable drawback areas to be addressed sooner.
Our roads desperately want consideration. If takes noisy politicians in Charleston to get that focus, then we want our representatives to be loud and chronic. And we want our two reps within the Republican supermajority to be the loudest and most persistent of all.