|The state Division of Highways has released the list of construction projects that will be completed if state voters approve the road bond amendment, Roads to Prosperity Referendum, in a statewide vote scheduled for Oct. 7.|
A major project on the list is a long-delayed improvement to US 33 west of Spencer, with some of the property purchased from owners years ago.
The project has languished through several administrations starting with Gov. Arch Moore, politicians often proclaiming its pending construction with ribbon-cuttings.
The Scott Miller Hill- US 33 Relocation to relocate US 33 to a new two-lane road from CR 3 to CR 5/12 is costing $42 million.
There are 28 projects on the list in 17 different counties totaling roughly $940.5 million. Bonds will be sold to finance the work and then paid off from taxes and fees already approved by state lawmakers.
WV Republicans, with some exception, have gone on record as being opposed to the bond.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's Chief of Staff Chris Stadelman said bond supporters need to get their message out soon.
A coalition of business and labor needs to be on board or the bond has "no chance" for passage, Cris Stadelman said.
WV REPUBLICANS NOW 'THUMBS DOWN' ON $3 BILLION ROAD BOND - New Taxes Already In Place
ORIGINAL STORY 8/24/2017 - A decision by the state Republican Party to oppose the upcoming road bond was disappointing, said the president of the West Virginia Senate, Mitch Carmichael (R).
The state Republican Executive Committee voted in Princeton, overwhelmingly approving a resolution to oppose the bond.
Rob Cornelius, the chairman of the Wood County Republican Executive Committee, drafted the resolution, passing about 99-1.
"Americans didn't elect Republicans and Trump in West Virginia to raise taxes or borrow billions of dollars," he said.
No one spoke against the resolution, Cornelius said.
The measure was put forth by Gov. Jim Justice, when he was a Democrat, supported by the WV Legislature, but then charged his politics to Republican.
ORIGINAL STORY - The state WV Party Executive Committee overwhelmingly opposes a $3 billion road bond package scheduled to go before West Virginia voters in six weeks.
The bond was originally supported by the Republican-majority legislature.
Gov. Jim Justice, who jumped to the GOP after being elected as a Democrat, claimed the massive roads project could create 40,000 jobs and is needed desperately to re-energize the state's economy.
"If it fails, this state is history. It's gone, that's all there is to it," Justice said in June.
All but one of about 100 party leaders at a meeting Saturday voted to reject the bond.
The special election is set for Saturday, Oct. 7.
West Virginia is a state with some of the worst road and bridge conditions in the nation, with repaving on a 30 year schedule.
The bonds would be paid off with fees and tax increases approved earlier this year by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Jim Justice.
No one at the committee meeting spoke in favor of the bond, even though it originally was supported by the Republican-majority legislature.
It was unclear on why the Republicans shifted their position or where Gov. Justice now stands on the issue.
Perhaps Republican lawmakers and their constituency that favors low taxes, small government and fiscal responsibility is the reason for the current "thumbs down."
The legislature has already increased DMV fees, raised the wholesale tax on gasoline and increased the tax on vehicle purchases to raise another $130 million annually for road work.