Curtis Tate Published

State Transportation Project Contracts Top Out Year At $1 Billion

Man in a suit jacket and shirt with gray hair speaks at a podium
Division of Highways Secretary Jimmy Wriston speaks to the Joint Oversight Commission on Transportation.
Will Price/WV Legislative Photography

The West Virginia Department of Transportation reports an “unheard number” of projects under contract for the year.

As the year comes to a close, Transportation Secretary Jimmy Wriston told lawmakers his department has a billion dollars of projects under contract. 

“That’s unheard of in Highways,” he said.

Still, Wriston told the Joint Oversight Commission on Transportation Tuesday, the number could be even bigger if lawmakers reverse a change they made in 2016.

Prior to then, Wriston said, a sales tax on road construction materials directly funded the department’s projects. But lawmakers diverted those revenues to the general fund.

“Just looking at that sales tax, you could see how much more we could be doing,” Wriston said.

Wriston estimated the revenues to be in the tens of millions.

Daniel Linville, R-Cabell, chair of the joint commission, told Wriston that restoring the sales tax revenues to the department is something “I’d personally like to see us correct there.”