More than 900 West Virginia highway and bridge projects are in line to receive funding from a $1.6 billion bond proposal that goes before the state’s voters on Oct. 7. The bonds are part of a $2.8 billion transportation funding initiative proposed earlier this year by Gov. Jim Justice (R).
Topping the list, released by the West Virginia Dept. of Transportation on Aug. 28, is major rehabilitation and replacement of the I-70 Ohio River Bridge at Wheeling, a project estimated to cost $172.5 million. A new I-79 connection for Morgantown, at a location yet to be determined, would receive $100 million.
The I-64 corridor would also be a focal point of activity, with several segments between Charleston and Huntington identified for widening or rehabilitation. Other I-64 projects include a new bridge across the Kanawha River at Nitro, and a new structure spanning New River near Beckley. A segment of U.S. Route 52/Tolsia Highway would undergo $150 million in upgrades to improve access to an intermodal facility in Pritchard.
The complete list may be found at www.transportation.wv.gov.
West Virginia’s legislature has already raised the state’s gas tax by three-and-a-half cents per gallon and authorized increases to various motor vehicle fees to provide revenue for the new bonds, the sale of which requires a change to the West Virginia constitution.
In addition, higher tolls on the West Virginia Turnpike are expected to help fund $500 million in additional road bonds, which will go toward projects in the state’s southwest counties. West Virginia also expects to issue an additional $300 million in federally financed GARVEE bonds.