Approve Ohio County TIF

With West Virginia Division of Highways officials uncertain of how they will find even enough money to repair the spring crop of potholes, state legislators and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin may be tempted to ask for volunteers to handle highway projects.

Ohio County commissioners put their hands in the air months ago. They are ready and willing to do just that – undertake an important highway project on their own, sparing the DOH both expense and aggravation.

Of course, there is a third component to that “ready and willing” situation: As matters stand, commissioners are not able to take on the project, which involves construction of a new Interstate 70 exchange at The Highlands. Members of the House of Delegates can remedy that.

County officials want to expand the tax increment financing district put in place at The Highlands years ago. Doing so would provide a new revenue stream that could provide enough money for the interchange.

The idea is such a no-brainer that state senators approved a bill containing the TIF provision last week, by a 33-0 vote. Now the bill’s fate is up to the House, where it is being examined by committees.

Precious little time remains in the legislative session. House leaders should accelerate action on the bill and delegates should approve it. No doubt it is one bill the governor will be smiling broadly when he signs.