Funds for W.Va. 2 Authority Removed from State Budget

State funding has been cut for a board formed to promote the expansion of two major highways, the Brooke County Commission learned Tuesday.

The commission received an email from the West Virginia Route 2 and Interstate 68 Authority stating it and similar boards were being defunded entirely by the state Legislature due to budget cuts.

But Duane Heck of Follansbee, one of two Brooke County representatives of the board, said the board has no plans to disband.

“As far as our organization is concerned, we’re still looking ahead. We’re still up and running,” Heck said.

Heck said the board is asking the commissioners of the 10 counties it represents to contribute $3,000 each toward the group’s expenses, with hopes its state funding will be restored next year. He said four county commissions so far have agreed to provide the funds.

No formal request was made of the Brooke County Commission on Tuesday.

Commission President Tim Ennis was among state legislators who introduced the bill establishing the volunteer board in 1997 to promote the expansion of W.Va. 2 to four lanes and the extension of I-68 from Morgantown to Moundsville.

The board includes two representatives from each of 10 counties through which the highways run. Brooke County’s other representative is Jim Stock of Wellsburg.

Among projects it’s championed was the expansion of W.Va. 2 north of Follansbee.

Several years ago the board hired Charles Clement of New Martinsville, a former state legislator, to serve as its paid director.

The board has used state funds to support transportation projects tied to economic development in Marion and Pleasants counties.

The group recently launched a campaign petitioning county commissions and other boards to approve resolutions supporting the highways’ expansion.

The campaign also includes signs posted along the highways.

“Hopefully the cut in funding won’t mean a cut in their work,” Ennis said.

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