Highway Funding Plan Imperative

About 8 percent of state roads in West Virginia need repairs or improvements because of deteriorated pavement or traffic congestion, members of a panel studying the highway system were told earlier this month. Unless more money is found for the state Division of Highways, the percentage will grow.

Analysts reported the information to a committee of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways set up by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. That committee is to prepare a plan for long-term highway maintenance and construction.

That will be the easy part – by far – of the Tomblin commission’s work. Once priorities for highway work, along with costs for it, are finished, another committee will propose ways to raise the money.

West Virginia is hundreds of millions of dollars short of what will be needed during the next couple of decades. It will be extraordinarily difficult for state legislators to fill that gap.

But the commission’s investigation is making it clear that there is little time to waste in making the hard choices needed to provide enough money to stop the crumbling of Mountain State highways.