The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

August 8, 2013

Winning plan

The Register-Herald

— A Blue Ribbon Panel, appointed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, has done its preliminary work in studying the needs for West Virginia’s highway system.

Now it seeks your input.

A public meeting will be held Monday at the Mountaineer Conference Center, located beside the Country Inn & Suites on Harper Road in Beckley, from 4 to 7 p.m.

We encourage our readers not only to attend to become better informed citizens, but to provide helpful input which may give the panel insight to make necessary changes or upgrades.

Now is the time to get involved, before final plans are implemented.

According to the West Virginia Department of Transportation, the Blue Ribbon Highway Commission “is tasked with studying the condition and needs of the state’s transportation system and developing a long-term strategic plan of action. The plan will include funding options for the maintenance, construction and expansion of the state’s roadway system.”

The commission includes state officials, members from statewide constituency groups, representatives of counties and municipalities, members of the Legislature, as well as citizen members, with the Department of Transportation providing staff support.

Money is a huge issue.

Funding roads is a monumental task.

West Virginia is responsible for some 36,000 miles of state-owned roads, and to keep them up in existing conditions bears an estimated $500 million.

If you pay taxes, you deserve your say.

An efficient highway system is crucial for our state, and our region in particular.

It’s a vital part of any potential growth that we may one day achieve.

We need to have better roads to entice businesses to locate here.

For tourists to travel here.

And for new families to put down roots or to relocate here.

Having all of the information needed to establish an effective plan for our highways will ensure a smooth path to future success in West Virginia.

Our hope is that this blue ribbon effort will help provide a winning plan for West Virginia’s roads.