West Virginia legislators were wise last month in approving expenditure of $50.2 million from last year’s budget for secondary road repairs. The money was a supplement to previously budgeted funds.
But a new fiscal year began Monday. With it comes a new 12-month budget for the Division of Highways. Its money is under the Department of Transportation, not the general revenue fund.
Earlier this year, legislators and Gov. Jim Justice included $336.3 million in the DOH budget for road maintenance. That is $50 million less than was budgeted for fiscal 2019.
One has only to take a drive on Mountain State secondary roads to realize that last year’s maintenance budget was inadequate. This year’s, at $50 million less, surely will not be adequate.
State revenue last year was far in excess of what had been anticipated. That allowed state officials to do things they had not thought possible previously. Among them were a secondary road repair campaign and major improvements to public schools.
With any luck, revenue will continue to increase. If that happens, Justice and lawmakers should consider supplemental appropriations to the DOH for secondary road maintenance. Most West Virginians would consider that excellent use of the money.