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WV groups to rally for better transportation

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Ask members of West Virginians for Better Transportation what they want for Valentine's Day and they might say the sweetest gift they could receive is better roads in the Mountain State.

West Virginians for Better Transportation and 39 other groups from across the state will gather Feb. 14 for "Transportation Day" at the state Capitol. The goal of the day is to highlight the current and future challenges facing the state's transportation needs, as well as get an update on the Governor's Blue Ribbon Highway Commission.

"As we did last year, we are urging all those interested in the future of West Virginia's transportation system to come to Charleston on Feb. 14 and show their support for a long-term solution for our roads, bridges and highways," Carol Fulks, chairwoman of West Virginians for Better Transportation, said in a news release. 

Fulks said the group is pleased that the Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission is focusing on the needs facing West Virginia's transportation system and working to develop a plan to address what se called a "critical issue." She said if the problems facing the state's highways and roadways are ignored much longer, it will "erode progress that has been made over the past several decades in building a safe, modern and efficient transportation system. 

"Moreover, good-paying jobs and economic development will be at risk if nothing is done to address the crisis facing new projects that are needed as part of our transportation infrastructure," Fulks continued. 

Fulks said all motorists in the state should be concerned about the condition of West Virginia's transportation infrastructure. She said bad roads damage vehicles, costing West Virginia motorists a combined total of $292 million a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs. Broken down on a individual basis, she said those repairs cost the average driver about $229 per year in extra maintenance costs.

She also said an average driver in West Virginia uses roughly 853 gallons of fuel per year and pays about $298 in state fuel taxes annually. Fuel taxes paid by drivers are one of the main sources of funding for highway and road maintenance in the state.

Groups attending the Feb. 14 Transportation Day represent business organizations, labor unions, economic development entities and citizen groups, specifically: 
  • West Virginians for Better Transportation
  • Advantage Valley
  • Affiliated Construction Trades of West Virginia
  • AARP
  • American Council of Engineering Companies of West Virginia
  • Asphalt Pavement Association of West Virginia
  • Blue - Gray Intermodal Highway Authority
  • Builders Supply Association of West Virginia
  • Carpenters Local Unions Nos. 302, 899, 1159 and 1207
  • Coalfields Expressway Authority
  • College of Information Technology and Engineering - Marshall University
  • Contractors Association of West Virginia
  • The Greater Cumberland Committee
  • Hardy County Rural Development Authority
  • International Union of Operating Engineers Local No.132
  • King Coal Highway I-73/74 Authority
  • KYOVA Interstate Planning Commission
  • Little Kanawha River Parkway Authority
  • Nick J. Rahall, II Appalachian Transportation Institute
  • North Central West Virginia Section West Virginia of American Society of Highway Engineers
  • Robert C. Byrd Corridor H Highway Authority
  • Shawnee Parkway Authority Inc.
  • United Steelworkers Local No. 14614
  • West Virginia AFL-CIO
  • West Virginia Association of Counties
  • West Virginia Business & Industry Council
  • West Virginia Chamber of Commerce
  • West Virginia Crushed Aggregates Council
  • West Virginia Economic Development Council
  • West Virginia Hospitality & Travel Association
  • West Virginia Laborers District Council
  • West Virginia Manufacturers Association
  • West Virginia Municipal League
  • West Virginia Parkways Authority
  • W.Va. Route 2 & Interstate 68 Authority
  • West Virginia Ski Area Association
  • West Virginia Trucking Association

For information about West Virginians for Better Transportation, go to www.keepwvmoving.org.