SAINT ALBANS, W.Va. -Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today issued an executive order forming the West Virginia Blue Ribbon Highway Commission, a group tasked with studying the condition and needs of the state's transportation system and developing a long-term strategic plan of action. The plan will include funding options for the maintenance, construction and expansion of the state's roadway system. Joined by West Virginia Department of Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox, House of Delegates Speaker Rick Thompson and State Senate President Jeff Kessler, the announcement took place near the almost 80 year old Dick Henderson Memorial Bridge in Saint Albans, W.Va., which is currently undergoing a $24 million renovation and expansion.
"West Virginia maintains the nation's sixth largest highway system," Gov. Tomblin said. "This new commission comprised of unions, associations, legislators, state and local leaders in transportation and travel industries will develop a long-term plan to help us meet our current and future needs for the safety of the traveling public and the economic development of the state."
The Blue Ribbon Highway Commission includes state officials, members from statewide constituency groups, representatives of counties and municipalities, members of the Legislature, as well as citizen members. The West Virginia Department of Transportation will provide staff support for the Commission.
"Our highways are vital lifelines for so many West Virginia communities and businesses but due to inadequate funding the State Department of Transportation can no longer fulfill general paving and maintenance obligations of the existing system and meet the calls for new highway construction projects," Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox said. "I look forward to working with the commission and thank Governor Tomblin for actively working to find a solution to this safety and economic development need."
The Blue Ribbon Highway Commission will present a report to the governor prior to the start of the legislative session. The following groups will have a representative on the commission:
- Three members of the Senate
- Three members of the House of Delegates
- West Virginia Department of Transportation
- West Virginia Department of Commerce
- West Virginians for Better Transportation
- West Virginia Chamber of Commerce
- West Virginia Business & Industry Council
- West Virginia AFL-CIO
- Affiliated Construction Trades Foundation of West Virginia
- West Virginia Association of Counties
- County Commissioners' Association of West Virginia
- West Virginia Municipal League
- West Virginia Trucking Association
- West Virginia Manufacturers Association
- West Virginia Hospitality & Travel Association
- Contractors Association of West Virginia
- American Council of Engineering Companies of West Virginia
- Three (3) citizen members, one from each congressional district
Thirty-two organizations pledged their support to the West Virginia Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways. To view a list of the organizations, click here.
To view the executive order, click here.
Amy Shuler Goodwin