Most drivers would probably agree that West Virginia’s roads need work.
Think about the last time you were in your car and traveling across the state. Whether you were driving a long distance or just a few miles, it’s likely that you drove through — or swerved to miss — at least a pothole or two.
You probably griped about it to a family member or friend later that day, but we doubt it went much further than that. At least not until the next time you were driving along that same route and hit that same pothole.
But now you have the chance to take those gripes to the people who can do something about them.
The Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways is coming to Fairmont to ask people what they think should be done to raise money to maintain West Virginia’s ailing highways and bridges. The commission will meet at the Robert H. Mollohan Research Center from 4-7 p.m. today.
Jason Pizatella, deputy chief of staff for Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and designee for the commission, said the commission was created to study the conditions and needs of the state’s transportation system in its entirety as well as develop a long-term plan of action.
There’s a lot to study.
Consider that driving on roads in need of repair costs the average West Virginia motorist nearly $230 a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs.
Consider that the average driver also spends about $1 a day to support the state’s transportation system, including the roads, bridges and highways in addition to maintenance such as snow removal and paving.
And consider that the state spends more than $700 million on roads annually, and it needs to find another $700 million in funding just to keep up with disrepair and not be caught flat-footed by an emergency. To fully fund projects West Virginia has already committed to, the commission needs to find about $1.2 billion in additional revenues.
But that’s where the commission comes in.
The group, which has representatives from the state Legislature and government, business organizations and labor unions, is working on a three-pronged plan to solve the issue. The steps? Raising revenue, improving efficiency within the West Virginia Division of Highways and discovering new funding sources.
And here’s where you come in.
Despite all the voices represented by legislators, businesses and labor unions, Tomblin wants to make sure the people’s voice isn’t left out of the equation. That’s why the Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways has been traveling around the state conducting these meetings — members want as much input from the public as possible.
If you’re asking why you should be involved, consider that well-maintained roads and bridges are crucial in providing people with safe, convenient transportation to and from schools, doctors’ offices, hospitals, pharmacies and grocery stores. Surely you travel along West Virginia’s highways to reach one of those destinations, if not several of them.
People attending today’s meeting will be given a survey of 18-20 questions designed to get feedback on how they feel about certain possible solutions for the state’s highway system, ranging from raising taxes and fees to cutting money from the DOH. The floor will then be opened for public comment.
There’s work to be done, and there are people making the effort to see that progress is made.
Be part of the process by attending today’s meeting and making your voice be heard.
Most drivers would probably agree that West Virginia’s roads need work.
State native Burwell can ‘deliver results’ as Health and Human Services secretary
Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
For the past year, she has run the budget office under President Barack Obama.
Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.
Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better
When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.
COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable
That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!
Decision to be an organ donor can save lives
Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.
Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community
Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
Marion County is full of volunteers.
They read to our youth.
They assist nonprofit agencies.
They serve on boards and committees.
And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.
Proposed school calendar lives up to letter and spirit of law
West Virginia state law requires that students be in a classroom for 180 days.
Strong Fairmont General Hospital badly needed to serve our region
Mere minutes often matter when it comes to emergency health care.
That’s why we need a strong Fairmont General Hospital.
When patients need the services of health-care professionals, having family and friends close at hand is often essential, and their presence may even lead to a better outcome.
COLUMN: Fairmont General Hospital vital part of community
There’s nothing better than holding a newborn baby. It gives you a little feeling that not only is everything right in the world, but this perfect little human represents hope of a future where things will be better than they are today.
I had that blessed opportunity to hold that hopeful future in my arms last week when I visited my dear friend Jen and her newborn son Tristan at Fairmont General Hospital.
Putting a cost on safety issue has been culprit in 13 traffic deaths
Would you believe that an item costing just 57 cents — less than the price of a can of pop — is being cited as the culprit in 13 traffic deaths?
A simple 57-cent item.
That’s how much fixing the fatal ignition switches that General Motors installed in new automobiles would have cost, and 13 lives would probably have been saved.
TextLimit app one more step in cutting down distracted driving
Every day in the United States, nine people are killed and more than 1,000 people are injured in vehicle accidents that involve distracted drivers.
That statistic comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which goes on to say that 69 percent of U.S. drivers between the ages of 18 and 64 reported that they had talked on their cellphone while driving within the 30 days before they were surveyed.
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