Road Repair: West Virginia must maintain momentum on job

Though not all questions about funding, manpower and resources have been answered, West Virginia Department of Transportation and Division of Highways officials are to be commended for getting a jump on the vital work to repair our secondary roads.

“I can tell you we’ve never had an April like this represents,” said acting DOH Commissioner Jimmy Wriston.

Good. The challenge now, of course, is to keep up that kind of momentum.

“Those people are doing great work,” said Gov. Jim Justice. “They’re like ants flying all over the place.”

And they will likely continue to do so … until June 30. Then what?

“We have a pool of money from the general revenue bond proceeds,” said Dave Hardy, secretary of the state Department of Revenue. “Our first goal was to see what we needed between now and June 30. I would anticipate over the next few weeks that I’ll be working with our state budget director, our bond folks, and of course highways to identify where we’re going July 1 forward.”

Even a DOH staff the size of an army of ants could not complete all that needs to be done by June 30. And we know there are in fact still concerns about the amount of manpower available. Despite Byrd’s backhanded comment implying DOH administrators and employees had abandoned their work ethic for a while, but have now returned to it, the truth is, most of the men and women working to repair our roads have been doing what they could with the money and other resources available to them all this time.

It is the challenge now of those budget, bond and highway department folks to figure out where they will get the money to allow them to keep doing it. The Mountain State cannot afford to lose a step in getting caught up — not just on fixing, but then on properly maintaining our secondary roads.