West Virginia Special Session opens with road fixes a top priority

Local News

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The House of Delegates and State Senate opened up for what’s scheduled to be a one-day Special Session.

Many lawmakers were there for the monthly interim committee meetings.

The most noteworthy item they passed was transferring $150 million to the state road fund. That will pay for 400 road and bridge projects in all 55 counties, and paving more than 700 miles of road.

“So we need to spend every dollar we can on it. I am a supporter of anything that paves roads and builds infrastructure in West Virginia. As far as I am concerned, the two primary jobs of government are public safety and provision of infrastructure. Anything we can do to devote resources to infrastructure is a good thing,” said House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, (R) Clay.

The Senate and House also approved the spending of millions of federal dollars sent by Congress, to help fund the state Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human resources.

On the other hand, the money for road projects comes from an estimated $400 million surplus when the state fiscal year ends June 30th.

“With the extra spending and the extra money that was pumped into the market, based on the stimulus money that people were out there spending. And a lot of tourism. Tourism has been up. You see people driving for vacations rather than flying, so you see a lot more in our tourism side which is great for West Virginia,” said Del. Doug Skaff, (D) Kanawha – Minority Leader.

The state saw an 11 percent increase in consumer sales tax collections, compared with this time last year.

“This will not be the last Special Session this year. Lawmakers will be back in late summer or early fall, to start the process of redrawing the lines for their own districts, as well as the Congressional districts,” said Mark Curtis, 59News Chief Political Reporter.

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