The Times West Virginian

Opinion

October 24, 2013

Corridor H construction over 72 years makes no sense

A prediction has been made on how West Virginia might receive $1.25 billion in new revenue.

Throw in an uninterrupted link to the Inland Port in Front Royal, Va.

Any idea what it is?

All the state, with a little help from neighboring Virginia, has to do is complete Corridor H by the year 2020, instead of the proposed completion date of 2036, according to the Robert C. Byrd Corridor H Highway Authority.

Well, that doesn’t sound too tough.

First, let’s see when Corridor H — a link from Interstate 79 near Weston with the junction of Interstates 81 and 66 in Front Royal — was first proposed.

A little research tells us that this highway was actually proposed way back in 1964, and construction began the following year.

This is 2013 — almost 2014. Almost 50 years from the time that the highway was first proposed, it still isn’t completed.

Corridor H is scheduled to cover 143 miles when completed. And the economic impact study reveals that 75 percent of the highway is either under construction or open in West Virginia.

The completion date as currently scheduled is 2036, but the study reveals that the economic impact from 2020 to 2036 would be worth an additional $1.25 billion while more than 534 jobs and a $360 million increase in wages would also be realized.

Authority chairman Steve Foster calls this study an important one.

“This is an important study,” he said, “because it quantifies what many of us have felt was the case all along. We’re not surprised in the least that the state would benefit by a billion and a quarter dollars if we finish Corridor H in what we think is a timely manner. We felt it important to see hard data that shows just what we could miss out on if we don’t get this highway completed. Throw in the $800 million we could save on construction costs, and I think people can see why finishing this now makes sense.”

For numerous reasons, not the least of which has been a lack of funding, Corridor H is the only section of the Appalachian Corridor system that has not been finished. But funding has been only a part of the problem. Conservationists and environmentalists have been at odds with federal agents, developers and the business community. They wanted the most environmentally sensitive route among several alternatives.

The economic people have a good point in wanting Corridor H — which also has some work still to be finished in Virginia — completed 16 years ahead of the current schedule. That’s a good trick if one can accomplish it — regardless of the $1.25 billion the state could receive in future revenue.

With tight budgets at the state and federal levels, it will be a major challenge.

As the Wheeling Intelligencer pointed out, why anyone concerned with a region's future would plan a major highway to be constructed over a 72-year period is beyond us.

The study must be taken seriously.

“The study gives us numbers to offer government agencies and elected officials that tell all of us in a clear way what Corridor H will do for us,” Foster said.

If they can accomplish the difficult task of funding an early completion, the potential payback and savings are too significant to ignore.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • 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.

    April 16, 2014

  • 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.

    April 13, 2014

  • COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable

    Instant.
    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!

    April 13, 2014

  • 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.

    April 11, 2014

  • 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.

    April 10, 2014

  • 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.

    April 9, 2014

  • 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.

    April 6, 2014

  • 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.

    April 6, 2014

  • 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.

    April 4, 2014

  • 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.

    April 3, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Politics
House Ads