Corridor h, high-speed internet — WV Needs both - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Corridor h, high-speed internet — WV Needs both

Posted: Updated:

Building a road in West Virginia is no easy task. Hills and mountains have to be ascended and descended, tunneled through or taken down, rivers have to be crossed and valleys must be bridged. Geography alone is a challenge, not to mention financing, property rights and the politics of highway construction in the Mountain State.

Still, despite the enormity of the undertaking, it is a vital part of the dynamic that moves our state forward. Our landscape is rugged and beautiful, but it makes travel a challenge. In economic terms, getting goods to market or bringing them here must be as streamlined and as fast as possible. That's why the completion of Corridor H is so important.

On Monday, the Corridor H Authority hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking for the construction of a 20-mile stretch of the four-lane linking Davis to Scherr in Grant County. Work has been underway on that segment of the road for some time and officials expect it will be completed next year. But there is still much to do. This road is an essential part of our state's future; expediting the passage of coal, timber and everything else to the Virginia Inland Port and ultimately Norfolk, Va., one of the world's busiest ports. This project needs our elected leaders' utmost time and attention.

However, just as important as any road into or out of our state is how we can connect with others across the nation and across the globe. A study conducted  by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration titled "Exploring the Digital Nation" indicated only 59 percent of households in our state subscribe to a high-speed Internet service. That's among the lowest in the nation. We will not rehash the controversy surrounding the deployment of the $126.3 million to better connect this state, but it's important we help all of our residents better understand the importance of connectivity. West Virginia's economy is the world's economy and bridging the so called "digital divide" is just as important as laying a modern highway through our hills and valleys.

Completing Corridor H is necessary because it will ensure that our raw materials can get out more quickly and more efficiently, and it will afford easy passage into our state from large metropolitan areas such as Washington D.C., Baltimore and Northern Virginia.  Making certain state residents have access to reliable, high-speed Internet means just as much as any road.