Tourism Obama could speed up Corridor work

President Barack Obama reportedly plans to use a visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame to tout tourism as an economic development tool. His trip to Cooperstown, N.Y., today will include a speech about good-paying jobs in tourism, it has been reported.

He is absolutely correct, as West Virginians are well aware. But why, if federal officials are so high on economic development by tourism, have they dragged their feet for decades on the Corridor H project in our state?

Corridor H, if it ever is completed, will link West Virginia’s beautiful Potomac Highlands region with Interstate 81 in Virginia. That could make the Potomac Highlands a mecca for tourists from throughout the Eastern U.S.

But Corridor H was proposed in 1965. Construction has proceeded at a snail’s pace because federal funding has trickled out of Washington slowly. The project is not slated for completion until 2035.

That is not Obama’s fault. Both Republican and Democrat presidents and members of Congress are to blame for delays in completing Corridor H during the past few decades.

But if Obama is serious about tourism, he can accelerate construction of the highway. Whether he will do so is another question, of course.