DOH not applying a winning formula to area’s District 4

A new discovery that simply uses an old formula explains a lot of things.
It’s not like no one accused the Division of Highways of shortchanging this region to maintain the roads for years.
But this year, an audit and recent number-crunching confirms the DOH takes a detour around District 4.
That is, the DOH’s funding for District 4, which encompasses Doddridge, Harrison, Monongalia, Marion, Preston and Taylor counties.
That audit, released in January, determined though the state’s average allocation only increased by 14.22 percent between 2009-17, it inched up by a mere 8.6 percent in District 4 then. Of the DOH’s 10 districts, District 4’s increase was next to last. Our neighbors in District 6, which includes Marshall and Wetzel counties, were last at 8.34 percent.
Funny thing, the governor was in Marshall County on Monday. In what was supposed to be a presentation of federal grant funding, the event turned into a tough Q&A session about roads conditions.
But we digress. That audit  also found our neighbors in District 5 — the Eastern Panhandle area — were allocated nearly 32 percent more in that nine-year study window. No one has yet to explain why.
Three other districts topped the 14.22 percent state average, too. All of which looked like a 1966 Chevy  on the interstate, when held up to this region’s growth and development.
Then this week, two Monongalia County delegates ran some numbers provided by the state and discovered that the DOH shorted District 4 by nearly $15 million.
If their calculations are correct and the DOH applies its funding formula the same way across the state, someone’s got some explaining to do.
We suspect these lawmakers’ findings are right, having not a heard a peep from the DOH since their release.
As to the DOH’s application of that formula, yes, it exists as a guideline rather than a rule and it is not required to follow its formula. Still, we like to think the DOH would make a good faith effort to do so for the greater good of all West Virginians. Yes, some variation should be acceptable.
But nearly $15 million across the last two years? That smacks of purposefully ignoring the procedure to be followed when allocating money to District 4.
What’s especially galling is this region has continued to post population gains, major growth and development, and intense traffic on its roads.
It’s evident the DOH is not using a funding formula at all, at least in regard to District 4.
We urge the Legislature and the governor to get behind an updated and codified formula to do so.
The DOH needs to stop paving over the truth and start spreading funding fairly.

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