Infrastructure

Wyatt Greene

  Entering an election year, state officials aren't thrilled by suggestions to raise taxes, tolls and fees for roads.

As federal money keeps fizzling, some aren't dismissing the idea.

West Virginia's problems appear to be about upkeep, not necessarily congestion.

U.S. Census data from 2013 shows Charleston and Huntington metro areas had commute times about two minutes lower than the national average, almost 26 minutes. The Martinsburg-Hagerstown, Maryland, area exceeds the average by four minutes but includes Washington commuters.

Tim Kiser / Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee passed a bill this week that calls for the creation of 10 natural gas pipeline corridors through federal lands within 2 years of the bill’s passage.

The committee passed HR 2295, also known as the National Energy Security Corridors Act, on a vote of 21-15, essentially along party lines. Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., sits on the Natural Resources Committee and voted for the bill. Rep. David McKinley, also R-W.Va., co-sponsored the bill.

West Virginia Turnpike
Seicer / wikimedia Commons

The West Virginia Parkways Authority reported turnpike traffic stretching from the Thursday before Memorial Day to the holiday itself was up by just over 5 percent this year.

The increased traffic brought a total of 588, 739 transactions at toll plazas, totaling $1,281,926 toll revenues. That amount is up more than $65,000 from revenues collected over the Memorial Day weekend in 2014.


The Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways released their final report this week, finding West Virginia needs an additional $1 billion annually to both maintain and expand the state's highway system.

The commission recommends keeping the tolls on the West Virginia Turnpike in order to leverage the road for a $1 billion road bond. The bond would be one time funds. Commissioners also recommend increases in some vehicle fees and taxes to create $141 million in new revenue.

en.wikipedia.com

Members of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways released their final recommendations Wednesday after a 20 month delay.

The commission was charged by Gov. Tomblin in 2012 with finding new revenue sources for the state’s aging roadways.

The 57 page report recommends lawmakers increase DMV fees and the state sales tax on motor vehicles. Those two increases, along with a new annual fee on alternative fuel vehicles, would create more than $115 million in new revenue.

West Virginia Turnpike
Seicer / wikimedia Commons

More than a year and a half after its initially announced release date, members of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways are set to release their final report Wednesday.

The commission began its work in October 2012, studying the state’s highway system, polling West Virginians on their priorities and compiling a list of new revenue sources as well as efficiencies.

In September 2013, the group held their final meeting to discuss recommendations, which include increasing the motor vehicle sales tax and DMV fees as well as continuing tolls on the West Virginia Turnpike to leverage more than $1 billion for new construction.

Why the Struggle for Water in the Coalfields?

May 8, 2015
Derek Cline

Water: it's a basic human need. On this episode, we'll get a glimpse into some of the water infrastructure needs in southern West Virginia. It's not easy to bring treated water to some of the remote places in the mountains. Wading through the bureaucratic application process, and finding creative solutions with multiple funding sources is often the only way to bring potable water to some rural communities. Find out what it's like to live with frequent outages and advisories, and the folks working to bring clean water to these areas.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A $4 million project on the Boone and Lincoln County border will soon bring public drinking water to some 215 homes in the area. The Morrisvale-Woodville expansion is expected to go to bid this fall and be completed by November of 2016.

A partnership between the two county Public Service Districts, County Commissions and West Virginia American Water, the extension, which will begin in Boone County, will cross the county line to pick up some 40 residents the Lincoln County PSD has not been able to serve.

WBOY

The Morgantown Municipal Airport's plan to extend its runway is drawing opposition from another airport in Bridgeport.

The Exponent Telegram reports that the Benedum Airport Authority voted Wednesday to submit a letter opposing the project to state and federal officials. The authority is the North Central West Virginia Airport's governing body.

Bettmann/Corbis

The Appalachian Regional Commission was created as part of the War on Poverty, declared by Lyndon B. Johnson in Appalachia in 1964.

Earlier this week Senator Shelley Moore Capito, along with other federal representatives, introduced legislation that would reauthorize the Appalachian Regional Commission. The announcement comes on the heels of a report evaluating the progress of the Commission after 50 years. 

Senator Shelley Moore Capito, along with other federal representatives, introduced legislation that would reauthorize the Appalachian Regional Commission. The announcement comes on the heels of a report evaluating the progress of the Commission after 50 years.

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC sent out letters threatening legal action against property owners who refused access to their land for surveying. Groups opposed to the pipeline believe there is no basis for legal action. The issue appears far from black and white.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline, or MVP, is a proposed 42-inch diameter, 330-mile line that would connect hydraulic fracturing operations in West Virginia to a transmission pipeline in Virginia. EQT and NextEra Energy are partnering on the project.

Update Monday January 26, 2015 at 9:11 p.m. 

  Water samples taken from the Greenbrier River did not show dangerous levels of diesel, the Charleston Gazette is reporting.

This means the water intakes will be turned back on to refill the tanks and restore water pressure.

Earlier today, Al Whitaker said that after the intakes are turned on, residents will be boil water advisory for at least three days.

Jessica Lilly

While the chemical spill in Charleston left 300-thousand people without access to clean water, folks in the coalfields deal with water issues every day.  We heard from folks in McDowell communities living off dated water systems that frequently go without water. Some communities have been on boil water advisories for years.

Daniel Walker

While the chemical spill in Charleston left more than 300,000 without usable water, it's a problem that folks in the coalfields deal with on a regular basis.

Mountainous regions like southern West Virginia have an abundance of water, but the terrain along with aging infrastructure create challenges, just as it has for decades.

Morgantown, Truck
Safe Streets Morgantown / via Facebook

A municipal ordinance to limit heavy traffic through the downtown district of Morgantown has been declared “unenforceable” in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Safe Streets Morgantown / https://www.facebook.com/SafeStreetsMorgantown

In a unanimous vote last night, Morgantown City Council decided to delay implementation of an ordinance that would ban certain truck traffic in the city’s downtown district.

A group is working to create a transportation plan for Raleigh and Fayette Counties. The Metropolitan   Planning Organization, or MPO, is working to identify transportation investments needed to move the region forward.

The MPO office is federally and state funded but it’s made up of local governments, business leaders, and others. The group is responsible for long range transportation planning.

A ceremony celebrating the effort to ensure quality drinking water for a community in Southern West Virginia was hosted on Tuesday.

The ceremony marked a milestone for the Bud/Alpoca Water System Upgrade Project. The upgrade ensures that an estimated 170 residential and commercial customers in the communities of Bud and Alpoca, in Wyoming County will have safe drinking water.

Dominion Resources

A series of informational gatherings are underway about a proposed 550-mile gas pipeline called the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Dominion Resources is sponsoring the events.

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