Cumberland Times-News

Editorials

October 8, 2011

Corridor C

It’s the road that nobody really wants

More people than have ever turned out for a West Virginia Division of Highways hearing on such a subject went to the Short Gap Fire Hall recently to hear about a proposed highway project that most, if not all of them, believe would be disastrous for their area.

Not only would Corridor C have what they say is a damaging impact on businesses, homes and other aspects of their lives, it would cost at least $200 million more than either of the other two proposed routes.

The way things often seem to work in government, these two factors alone lead us to believe Corridor C will be the one chosen.

However, we also wonder where the money for this road will come from ... and, if the length of time West Virginia has taken (more than 45 years) to argue about and build chunks of the still far-from-finished Corridor H route is any indication, many of those who attended Wednesday’s hearing may be dead by the time Corridor C is completed.

Maryland also is having road problems. It recently said the drying up of federal highway money may force the state to find new funding alternatives for building and repairing its roads.

One complicating factor is that Maryland regularly raids its Transportation Trust Fund to fill gaps in the overall budget — about $2 billion worth over the past few years, according to State Sen. George Edwards.

That actually is small change, when you consider that Maryland Secretary of Transportation Beverly Swaim-Staley told Allegany County leaders it would cost the state $12 billion just to fund each county’s top-priority programs. She said state officials stopped counting when they began looking at other requested projects and got to the $60 billion mark.

For more years than it is worth attempting to count, the federal government has borrowed money from its Highway Trust Fund to fund projects other than road and bridge construction and maintenance and hasn’t paid it back. Many states besides Maryland stage similar raids.

By robbing Peter to pay Paul, governments at all levels have neglected roads, bridges and other infrastructure while spending money on things that, if nothing else, will bring in votes at election time.

It’s bad enough that we can’t get the new roads we need, or the repairs to our deteriorating bridges and highways. Now, they are trying to give us a road nobody seems to want.

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