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Keep Up Pressure On W.Va. 2, I-68

One reason West Virginia legislators may not have been entirely reluctant to make one budget cut for next year is that it affects an organization that has been something of a gadfly to state officials. It is the West Virginia Route 2 and Interstate 68 Authority.

Since its creation nearly 20 years ago, the authority has pressed hard and frequently for state funding to improve W.Va. 2 and I-68. Representatives of 10 counties, including all in the Northern Panhandle, sit on the authority’s board.

The authority has served as a spokesman for all of us in the Ohio Valley who understand the importance of W.Va. 2 to our economy and see the possibilities of extending I-68 westward from its current terminus near Morgantown.

But state legislators, forced to find ways to reduce some spending in order to balance the fiscal 2017 budget, eliminated funding for the authority in the year that begins July 1.

That has not eliminated the authority, however. One of its board members, Duane Heck of Follansbee, told Brooke County commissioners last week the board is “still looking ahead. We’re still up and running.”

To help defray expenses, commissions in each of the 10 counties represented on the authority board are being asked to contribute $3,000 to it.

That would be a cheap price to pay to keep the authority in vigorous operation — and pressing the Legislature to make more improvements to W.Va. 2 and I-68.


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