W.Va. Route 2
Responding to lack of success in an endeavor by setting the bar higher for it does not seem to make sense. First thing’s first, after all.
But in proposing to expand the West Virginia Route 2 and Interstate 68 Authority, that may be precisely what some state legislators are doing.
Originally established more than 15 years ago, the authority initially was intended to serve Brooke, Hancock, Ohio, Marshall, Wetzel, Tyler, Pleasants and Wood counties, through which W.Va. 2 passes.
It later was expanded to include Monongalia and Marion counties, because of the proposal to extend I-68 west to the Ohio River.
Though some improvement has been made to W.Va. 2 during that period, it has been in bits and pieces instead of the major expansion members of the authority have urged. Clearly, making W.Va. 2 a four-lane highway from Hancock County down to Wood County would be an important economic development project.
Now, however, a bill in the state Senate aims to expand the authority to include representatives of Cabell, Mason and Jackson counties. At first glance, that seems to make sense. W.Va. 2 wends through those counties, too.
But unlike some of the original authority member counties, the three proposed new ones already have access to good, high-speed highways. Cabell County is bisected by Interstate 64, while Jackson is served by Interstate 77.
The bill has a powerful sponsor, state Sen. Evan Jenkins, D-Cabell. It is probable the measure will be enacted.
If so, the change should not be allowed to detract from the authority’s initial purpose – to lengthen the four-lane highway serving this region of the Mid-Ohio Valley.
If money for W.Va. 2 becomes available, it should be used in this region.