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W.Va. Roads and Bridges Facing Federal Funding Crisis


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Take a drive on any West Virginia road and chances are you'll see deterioration: potholes, caving pavement and crumbling bridges.

"You're paying for bad roads," U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said.

If you live in the Mountain State, maintaining the roads costs you about $270 dollars per year.

Roads that should be paved every 12 years are getting paved every 28, and the problem gets worse.

"Some of those bridges are beginning to crumble. So what you do in the past, you have to keep improving on," U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said.

However, that can't be done without money.

"Yes, the states have responsibility, as well. They're gonna be asked to step up to the plate more, but there has to be a federal commitment there, as well," U.S. Rep. Nick Joe Rahall, D-W.Va., said.

By August, the Highway Trust Fund will drop so low that funding to all states will slow down or could even be cut.

For West Virginia, that means more than 200 projects could be put on hold because they're dependent on $240 million of federal money.

Some of the projects include the widening of Interstate 64 by the St. Albans/Nitro bridge, expanding the new U.S. Route 35 and building a new W.Va. Route 10 in Logan County.

"This is not a problem just for us today. This a problem for our kids and our grandkids," Foxx said.

On Monday, a panel of state and transportation leaders met to push for the "Grow America Act" -- a four-year bill that would help solve these problems.

If not, they'll have to find a way to patch them -- short term.

"Even if a patch is found this year, next year will be like groundhog day; we'll find ourselves right back here and without a good answer as to what we're going to do over the long-term," Foxx said.

During the next four years, the Highway Trust Fund will be $63 billion short. Transportation leaders say the Grow America Act would replenish that.

Rahall said the House plans to act on the issue this week.


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