The House Committee on Technology and Infrastructure convened at 1 p.m. on Monday, February 11 in 215-E to consider several pieces of legislation. After a brief recess, they also convened at 5 p.m. to continue their discussion. House Bill 2011, a bill to establish the Road Maintenance Program in West Virginia counties, was the central topic of discussion within the committee meeting.
House Bill 2011 would create a program in the state known as the Road Maintenance Program that would allow for and encourage a program in every district of the state to contract out with private contractors in order to perform road maintenance within that district. The WV Division of Highways and Legislative Auditor would oversee the efficacy of this bill if it were to pass.
The Road Maintenance Program would aim to solve for the abundance of road work projects delegated to the WV Division of Highways each year, and allow them to contract out services for projects that they don’t have the manpower or resources for.
A discussion regarding the bill’s ability to take work away from the state persisted throughout the committee meetings.
Delegate Daniel Linville, R- Cabell, spoke in favor of the bill for what it would do in regards to holding the state accountable for doing productive work on the roads.
“At the heart of this bill, it would be more beneficial to West Virginia citizens to get more bang for their buck.” Linville said. “If we encourage you to contract this work out, it would ensure all appropriations are spent.”
If House Bill 2011 passes, the Road Maintenance Program would allow districts to contract vendors out to do road construction, snow removal, and other applicable work if the WV Division of Highways fails to complete 90% of their targeted projects during the prior year.
Despite representatives from the Division of Highways arguing that the legislation is unnecessary because of the agency’s ability to currently contract out work, House Bill 2011 passed through the Technology and Infrastructure Committee unanimously.
Delegate Ed Evans, D-McDowell, spoke in favor of the bill, saying that something needs to be done about state roads.
“Those roads are awful. I lost a future son-in-law to the dangers of Route 52. Something has to be done, for the safety of our constituents.” Evans said.
House Bill 2011 was amended technically and was advanced to the House Government Organization Committee for a second reference.
Both of these bills creating special registration plates were referred to the House Finance Committee for second reference.
House Concurrent Resolution 32 was also approved by the Committee unanimously. This resolution would request the Commissioner of the WV Division of Highways to increase the speed limit on the highways to 75 miles per hour, in areas where appropriate.
House Concurrent Resolution 32 was approved to be advanced to the House floor with the recommendation that it pass, but it first come to the House Committee on Rules for consideration.