West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) dismissed Secretary of Transportation Tom Smith on March 10 in an apparent dispute over the use of funds from a $1.6-billion bond issue endorsed by the state’s voters in October 2017.
Smith, a former FHWA official, said he felt that major road projects, such as replacement of the I-70 bridge over the Ohio River at Wheeling, should receive priority.
Justice, who had publicly referred to Taylor as a “superstar” last fall, had in recent weeks called for directing more dollars to secondary road repairs.
Byrd White, a county commissioner and former business executive, was named the state’s acting transportation secretary on March 13.