KEYSER - Telling Gov. Jim Justice that Mineral County “would like some of that prosperity” he is promising if his “Roads to Prosperity” bond issue passes Saturday, Mineral County Development Authority president Buck Eagle asked the Governor Tuesday to make sure the U.S. Route 220 realignment doesn't get forgotten.
By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - Telling Gov. Jim Justice that Mineral County “would like some of that prosperity” he is promising if his “Roads to Prosperity” bond issue passes Saturday, Mineral County Development Authority president Buck Eagle asked the Governor Tuesday to make sure the U.S. Route 220 realignment doesn’t get forgotten.
Justice had told the crowd that passage of the bond issue would enable the state to fill its funding “buckets” for approximately 600 highways projects throughout the state.
“Is there money in the bucket to fund the Tier 2 study … from Claysville to Corridor H?” Eagle asked.
Development Authority director Kevin Clark emphasized the importance of moving forward with the Route 220 Corridor for economic development in Mineral County.
Gov. Justice told the crowd that “the beauty” of the “Roads to Prosperity” plan is that, once the initial projects included in the plan are funded, “there’s an excess amount of hundreds and hundreds of millions of collars we can put toward the roads.”
Transportation Secretary Tom Smith agreed: “Getting these larger projects out of the way will allow us to get these smaller projects started.”
Justice also told the crowd that he feels President Trump’s infrastructure program, which will “come right behind” West Virginia’s program, will help funnel highways monies into West Virginia as well.
County resident Norm Launi said he fears, however, that the state of West Virginia will struggle to pay for such an ambitious plan years from now.
“This is the same way the federal government got us into debt,” he said. “I’m just afraid we’ll go through the same thing.”
He suggested that state government should tackle the wasteful spending first.
“Why don’t we step back, eliminate the waste and then see how much we need?” he asked, to applause from the crowded room.
Justice told Launi that he and the state government are “working on the waste every day,” but added, “you’re never going to eradicate at least some degree of the slop.
“I promise you, though, we will put the meat ax to a lot of it,” he said.
Other citizens speaking during the meeting included Potomac State College instructor Jay Badenhoop, who spoke about recent cuts to higher education; business owners John Lecky and Joe Clayton, and Keyser City Council members Karol Ashenfelter and Terry Liller.