(Charleston, WV) In the wake of new report released by the West Virginia Legislative Auditor, Delegates Evan Hansen (D-Monongalia) and John Williams (D-Monongalia) announced the formation of a new legislative caucus to address the issue of road maintenance in North-central West Virginia.
"The road conditions in Monongalia County and North-central West Virginia are atrocious,” said Delegate Williams. “We need to have an in-depth, comprehensive approach to examine all possible solutions. This is not a partisan issue. All delegates and senators in the district, regardless of party, will be invited to join this new legislative caucus."
The West Virginia Legislative Auditor’s Performance Evaluation & Research Division released a special report in early January, with a focus on counties in Division of Highways Districts 4 and 5. In addition to Monongalia County, District 4 includes Doddridge, Harrison, Marion, Preston, and Taylor counties.
According to the report, the amount of money spent on core maintenance—defined as mowing, patching, ditching, and snow removal—was consistently much less than the amount allocated.
While the district received $30 million of funding in 2017, only $23 million was spent. Despite the pressing need to fix state roads across Monongalia County, only $3.8 million was spent on core maintenance in the county in 2017, the lowest amount spent in years.
The report lists three main causes for the lack of spending on road maintenance:
(1) Huge labor issues, particularly in Monongalia County, where DOH cannot hire enough employees to spend the allocated money.
(2) Truck traffic from the oil and gas industry, causing DOH to divert resources away from its Core Maintenance Plan.
(3) Flooding, because DOH shifts maintenance staff to handle flood repair work.
“Our constituents just can’t understand why their roads aren’t mowed, ditched, and patched. I’m tired of nothing getting done. This caucus will help legislators in our region speak with one voice,” said Delegate Hansen.
The purpose of the North-central West Virginia Legislative Roads Caucus is for delegates and senators from the six District 4 counties to coordinate efforts to find solutions to better maintain roads in the district.