Time to take issue with all candidates on road conditions

If you’re looking for a hot-button issue on the nation’s political landscape, take your pick.
Abortion, immigration, climate change, foreign trade, health care, North Korea, budget deficits and so on.
But you need not even ask this summer what issue is hotter than a matchstick in West Virginia.
That would be the almost glacial pace of “progress” on maintaining and repairing our roads.
By all indications this issue looks like it will be the focus of the already heated Republican race for its gubernatorial nominee in May’s primary election.
It undoubtedly will be, but it should be the No. 1 issue of every candidate running on the Democratic Party’s ticket for governor, too, as well as both parties’ legislative candidates.
And not only in May’s state primary, but also should top the list of issues in next year’s general election.
Locally, it’s not so much the fact that our roads have gotten worse, it’s simply that they have remained in the same deplorable condition for years.
If there ever was a schedule for routine maintenance in recent years it appears it got deferred so long it was all but forgotten. And the repairs that are made amount to Band-Aids that continually come off only to display the same old scars.
For instance, the bottom of Pleasant Street (U.S. 19) — a key gateway to downtown Morgantown — is one of those persistent scars that disgrace this community.
At press time Wednesday, reinforcement bars were visible in the bathtub-sized pothole spanning its two lanes at the intersection with University Avenue (U.S. 119).
Meanwhile, driving on W.Va. 7’s westbound lane into Morgantown goes beyond just being bumpy, it’s flat-out hazardous to vehicles and motorists.
Of course, many blame the heavy truck traffic, bad drainage, etc. We won’t. We blame the state Division of Highways for not maintaining and repairing this road in a timely and effective fashion.
No, these roads and so many others did not just get into this condition overnight or over the last few years.
But they have gotten worse in recent years. Despite Roads to Prosperity projects or the governor’s sudden interest in secondary roads, we look around and still see little to nothing has changed.
We urge voters to let candidates — for governor or one of the 117 seats in the Legislature that will be on ballots next year — know they want roads to top the agenda.
It’s mid-July and time is not waiting for the governor or the DOH to improve local road conditions.
No, no one can push buttons to fix our roads or motivate the powers that be to repave them.
But voters can cast ballots in 2020 for candidates who must ensure this issue is on the road to repair.

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