Hurdle to Route 2 Widening: Money

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That's what supporters of improvements to West Virginia route two say is needed to make widening of the mostly two-lane road a reality.

The big issue is one that's been discussed at the state level for several years: the declining revenue in the West Virginia highway fund.

State Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox told members that-for projects such as the route two and interstate 68 improvements-as well as for similar projects-the state needs an additional $380 million .

It currently has 120 million. The state's total highway budget is $1.3 billion.

But the good news is the authority says improvements to route two do not need to be made all at once.

"As our interest in I-68 would mean the whole road would have to be built before it would become effective, route two will eventually get there," says Charles Clements, Executive Director of the Route 2/I-68 Authority. "We just have to make sure it stays on the front burner, and doesn't get pushed to the back of the stove some time."

"In Parkersburg, there's been a couple of miles widened between Parkersburg and I -77," says Sen. Donna Boley (R-Pleasants County). "Those things take time, but we have to get on the list of getting some road work done on route two."

Mattox says the highway funding bill recently approved by congress continues, but doesn't increase, federal road funding for West Virginia.
it has remained roughly the same since 2005.

Clements says to ensure continuing funding for the two projects, legislators at both the state and federal level need to hear the voice of the public.


With increases in business and population, comes an increase of people out on the road. A meeting was held Tuesday to discuss the expansion of Route Two and I-68 here in West Virginia.

Those from the Route Two and I-68 Authority say these roads need a lot of attention. Many say Route Two is too narrow for today's growing infrastructure.

Along with increasing the width of Route two, the Interstate Authority wants to lengthen I-68.

"We're going to the ten counties in the area that we serve, and we're trying to explain to them that we need their help in getting these projects moved up on the priority list in Charleston. This oil and gas industry is changing everything, and for the better, but we need the infrastructure to help the development and attract more industry into our area," said Charles Clements from the Route 2 and I-68 Authority.

Expansion projects for both of these roads have not been approved at this time and may be pretty costly.

Those from the Interstate Authority do not have an estimation on what both projects would cost the state, but funding proposed today includes raising tax prices on gas and raising the price of tolls.

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