“Report Card” cites deficiencies with roads and bridges

Published: Dec. 2, 2020 at 5:36 PM EST
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - A “report card” issued by the American Association of Civil Engineers gives West Virginia an overall “D” grade on infrastructure.

The state does get a “D-plus” for roads and bridges, with engineers citing Governor Jim Justices’ “Roads to Prosperity” program, which has resulted in more money being allocated to repaving and building roads.

But it says 21% of the state’s bridges are “deficient”, meaning at least one element of those bridges is in need of attention. It adds 29% of major roads are in poor condition, and that the 2018 fatality rate is above the national average.

The state of Ohio is in a similar situation on roads and bridges. It put into effect in 2019 an increase in the state’s gasoline tax, proposed by Gov. Mike DeWine shortly after he took office early in the year.

But revenues from that tax have declined during the pandemic.

“People are driving less, and using less fuel, and that means less fuel tax,” says Matt Bruning, Spokesman, Ohio Department of Transportation, “which is a user fee for people who use the roads to help pay for the roads. But if we didn’t have that gas tax increase that we got in 2019, our situation would be much, much tougher than it is now.”

The report card also graded dams, drinking water and wastewater systems.

It suggested the idea of consolidating some treatment plants, allowing for more money to maintain them and make improvements.

That’s in line with a proposal by a Wood County Commissioner to combine some local public service districts.

“Increasing the number of people who are on sanitary sewer is a plus for Wood County,” says Commission President Blair Couch, “just as it is trying to get people fresh, clean water. They go hand in hand.”

In West Virginia, the report card was compiled by Fairmont State University, with the backing of several local engineering companies.

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