Speeding Up Work To Finish Corridor H

Why anyone concerned with a region’s future would plan a major highway to be constructed over a 72-year period is beyond us. But that was the plan for Corridor H, beginning in 1964.

Proponents of the highway, linking Interstate 79 near Weston to Interstate 81 near Winchester, Va., understood from the beginning how important it would be in any number of ways. It is no exaggeration to say Corridor H could be the single most important aspect of growing the economy of much of West Virginia.

Yet construction has moved at less than a snail’s pace – much less. A snail could have traveled the 143-mile distance to be covered by Corridor H much faster than construction crews have moved.

The problem is money, of course. West Virginia simply cannot afford to fund the highway on its own, and federal funding has been in dribs and drabs during the past few decades. The road is not scheduled to be completed until 2036.

A group of Corridor H boosters suggested Monday that by accelerating the completion year to 2020, nearly $800 million in construction costs could be avoided.

In addition, hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue for West Virginia residents and businesses would be created.

Finally, completion of Corridor H would link much of West Virginia to Atlantic Coast seaports, giving a boost to manufacturing in the state.

Clearly, work on Corridor H should be accelerated. It is a simple matter of saving taxpayer dollars on one hand – and opening new opportunities to West Virginians on the other.