W.Va. Senate President Mitch Carmichael says the roads are terrible all over the state.
He referred to the Northern Panhandle where two counties–Marshall and Hancock–have now declared states of emergency–calling this part of the state “ground zero.”
He said the legislature has provided the money, and now they want to see some action.
“We demand that the executive branch focus on these roads as they say they are going to and get them repaired,” Carmichael said.
By “executive branch,” he said he means Governor Jim Justice.
“Get these roads fixed!” Carmichael said, when asked what his message would be to the governor. “I mean there must be third party contractors engaged in fixing these roads. The state highway department must reform their hiring processes, and make sure there are people out there getting the roads fixed.”
People on the street seemed to agree.
‘I mean it’s hard just to get to the store,” said Carol Burkhart of Wheeling. “And I haven’t seen anybody doing anything.”
The road bond issue passed by the voters was earmarked for major critical projects like the I-70 bridges.
The governor’s recent suggestion that some of that money should go for routine maintenance is not popular.
“We should absolutely get that highway and that bridge fixed immediately and not worry about filling in potholes,” said Chelsea Young of Wheeling.
“It’s wrong to take money that the voters voted on for these big projects and devote it to another area,” agreed Carmichael. “And so the legislature made sure there was money available for general maintenance and repair of the roads and that is sitting in funds in the state highway department. It’s just sitting there!”
“The governor’s probably trying to do his job,” said Ron Hadorn of Wheeling. “The state road’s probably trying to do their job. But what they’ve got to do is eliminate a lot of the red tape and just get somebody out there to get it done.”
Carol Burkhart has this message for the governor.
“Just help us,” she said. “Come up here and see this, and do something.”