CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — On this week’s episode of Inside West Virginia Politics, host Mark Curtis discusses a variety of topics, including funding to repair West Virginia Roads, the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the recent Labor Rally that occurred in Charleston earlier in June.

‘Much needed’ $150 million to fix West Virginia roads

In Segment 1, Del. Lisa Zukoff (D) from Marshall County discusses Governor Jim Justice’s request to move $150 million from the general fund to the road fund. She said the money is “much needed” in her district.

“We are a big county; we have oil and gas development still going on. A lot of big trucks in our community, which takes its toll on the roads,” said Zukoff. 

In 2019, Justice acknowledged that Marshall County had the worst roads in the state and declared a state of emergency. It worked, and it helped bring additional funds for the county to help fix the roads, but Zukoff said a lot more work needs to be done.

The Department of Transportation says there are 400 road projects throughout West Virginia. Zukoff says some road projects are needed such as on Route 250, on Boggs Dam Road in her district, and the Kammer plant on Route 2. “That’s $3.4 million worth of work,” said Zukoff.  

The importance of repairing West Virginia roads

In Segment 2, Del. Daniel Linville (R-Cabell) discusses the importance of the roads in West Virginia being fixed.

“It’s a continuance of our work to try to fix the darn roads here in the state of West Virginia. It’s very important because with all this money that’s coming in from the federal government and several other areas, and the cost inning creases we’ve begun to see in materials, to deploy this money as fast as we can,” said Linville. “It’s the third year out of three we’ve made an additional appropriation out of our general revenue new fund.”

‘Cautiously optimistic’: Nearing the end of the COVID-19 Pandemic

In Segment 3, Dr. Sherri Young from the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department said they are in the last stretch for vaccinating against COVID-19 in West Virginia.

“We did so well in the beginning, with huge clinics, huge numbers, that made the biggest impact in our 65 and older. That’s who we vaccinated first,” said Young. “We are getting younger people vaccinated, which gives us courage to say, hopefully, when school starts this year, we don’t see the uptick like we did last summer.”

When discussing the end of the Pandemic, Young said to be “cautiously optimistic.” 

“There are places, if you are fully vaccinated, you don’t need to wear your mask in public,” said Young. “There are requirements when you there’s still certain establishments that prefer you get — you wear the mask, even if you are vaccinated, so everyone’s protected.”

1,500 people to lose jobs in Morgantown

In Segment 4, Josh Sword of the West Virginia AFL-CIO discusses the Labor Rally that happened at the State’s Capitol on Tuesday, June 8, regarding the Viatris plant closing up in Morgantown.

“1,500 people are getting ready to lose a good job at the end of next month,” said Sword. 

During one of his press briefings, Governor Jim Justice said that he had been in touch with the company. The company said we’re not going to listen; we’re not open to staying here and keep the doors open. According to 13 News Political Mark Curtis, the governor has the commerce secretary out trying to find a suitable company or business to take that factory or plant and use it for something else.