Vote for Road Bond — It’s What W.Va. Needs

West Virginians have an opportunity on October 7 to approve a state road bond referendum that will spur development without increasing taxes, setting a stage for growth and a new direction for our state.

Investing in infrastructure is a safe and necessary investment, creating thousands of jobs for West Virginians, pouring money into construction and stimulating our economy.

Improving our state’s infrastructure will also make West Virginia a more desirable location for new businesses, not to mention enabling more convenient and safe travel.

Approving this referendum will add $1.6 billion to the state’s overall transportation package, more than doubling the amount available to $2.6 billion. Under the expanded program, every county will benefit, whether through a new road or paving and repairs.

This is, indeed, a game changer — but only if it passes.

All our institutions of higher learning would also benefit as the economy rebounds and puts more money in the state coffers, reducing the need for further cuts to higher education institutions, which are important economic engines.

West Virginians will gain momentum by “building our state” and enjoy renewed hope as jobs become available and the prospects for our future look brighter.

The “new day in West Virginia” feeling will pervade every neighborhood and institution, making pride and optimism contagious.

That is why we, as the presidents of Marshall University and West Virginia University, strongly support the road bond referendum — because we need action, we need boldness, we need innovation and we need optimism in West Virginia.

We urge the citizens of West Virginia to think about the road bond referendum the next time you are driving in your car on our state roads, highways and interstates. Think about how much better your driving experience would be if you traveled better roads.

Also, remember that a bipartisan legislative vote approved all the resources required to finance the bonds, and they are already in place. So, it is fair to ask: If we are already paying for it, why not pass the referendum and get the full benefit?

We thank Gov. Jim Justice for his bold vision in proposing this road plan and the West Virginia Legislature for approving it with bipartisan support. By building new roads and maintaining existing ones, we will put more West Virginians to work, create unbelievable momentum for our state and begin coming together to approach our state’s challenges differently.

It is exactly what our beloved state needs and deserves. Please join us in voting “yes” on Oct. 7!

Gordon Gee is president of West Virginia University. Jerome A. Gilbert is president of Marshall University.

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