Stores, restaurants and other tenants at The Highlands in Ohio County have become victims of their own success, in a way. At times, traffic congestion is a real problem at the development.
But West Virginia's cash-strapped Division of Highways does not have enough money to construct a new Interstate 70 interchange that could make life easier for Highlands tenants and their customers.
A realistic solution may be to allow the interchange to, in effect, pay for itself.
A 300-acre tax increment financing area already exists at The Highlands. In TIF districts, portions of sales taxes charged by the state can be retained by local officials, for economic development projects.
Expanding The Highlands TIF district to 500 acres could provide Ohio County additional money to construct a new interchange.
Local lawmakers are introducing a bill in the West Virginia Legislature to allow the expansion. It should be approved, so progress and growth at The Highlands can continue.