Secure Funding For New Bridge

Surely, working together, congressional delegations from West Virginia and Ohio can pry loose enough federal money to build a new Ohio River bridge in our area. They should make doing so one of their top priorities.

It has been clear for many years a new bridge is needed. Several years ago, then-Sen. Robert Byrd and Sen. Jay Rockefeller, both D-W.Va., managed to get $18 million earmarked for preliminary work on the span.

But the bridge, planned to connect W.Va. 2 south of Wellsburg with Ohio 7 at Brilliant, will cost an estimated $120 million. Even cooperating as they plan to, officials in West Virginia and Ohio do not have that much money available for the project. Federal help is a necessity.

Precisely how much will be needed is not known. One possibility being pursued by Mountain State officials is making the bridge a public-private partnership. That probably would require tolls, but if it can accelerate the construction process, it may be worth it.

Even then, federal money will be needed.

Funding for federal highway projects is limited, of course. Again, however, senators and representatives from our states may be able to obtain some money – if they push hard enough for it, perhaps by pointing out the energy savings that would result from reducing the number of miles local motorists will have to drive in the future to cross the Ohio?River.