SAINT ALBANS - Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today issued an executive order forming the West Virginia Blue Ribbon Highway Commission, a group tasked with studying the condition and needs of the state's transportation system and developing a long-term strategic plan of action. The plan will include funding options for the maintenance, construction and expansion of the state's roadway system. Joined by West Virginia Department of Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox, House of Delegates Speaker Rick Thompson and State Senate President Jeff Kessler, the announcement took place near the almost 80 year old Dick Henderson Memorial Bridge in Saint Albans, W.Va., which is currently undergoing a $24 million renovation and expansion.
"West Virginia maintains the nation's sixth largest highway system," Tomblin said. "This new commission comprised of unions, associations, legislators, state and local leaders in transportation and travel industries will develop a long-term plan to help us meet our current and future needs for the safety of the traveling public and the economic development of the state."
The Blue Ribbon Highway Commission includes state officials, members from statewide constituency groups, representatives of counties and municipalities, members of the Legislature, as well as citizen members. The West Virginia Department of Transportation will provide staff support for the Commission.
"Our highways are vital lifelines for so many West Virginia communities and businesses but due to inadequate funding the State Department of Transportation can no longer fulfill general paving and maintenance obligations of the existing system and meet the calls for new highway construction projects," Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox said. "I look forward to working with the commission and thank Governor Tomblin for actively working to find a solution to this safety and economic development need."
The Blue Ribbon Highway Commission will present a report to the governor prior to the start of the legislative session. The following groups will have a representative on the commission:
Three members of the Senate
Three members of the House of Delegates
West Virginia Department of Transportation
West Virginia Department of Commerce
West Virginians for Better Transportation
West Virginia Chamber of Commerce
West Virginia Business & Industry Council
West Virginia AFL-CIO
Affiliated Construction Trades Foundation of West Virginia
West Virginia Association of Counties
West Virginia Municipal League
West Virginia Trucking Association
West Virginia Manufacturers Association
West Virginia Hospitality & Travel Association
Contractors Association of West Virginia
American Council of Engineering Companies of West Virginia
Three citizen members, one from each congressional district