Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Garrett County Meeting Minutes

Route 50 Association


January 18, 2006

Attendees: Garrett County – Commissioner Dave Beard, Commissioner Fred Holliday, Peggy Jamison, Chamber of Commerce and Town of Oakland representative Cherie Ross, Garrett County Development Corporation Dave Moe; Allegany County – Rosemary Firlie; Preston County – Commissioner L. Darwin Wolfe, Commissioner Dave Price, Dave Sypolt, Arvin Harsh; Mineral County – Commissioner Wayne Spiggle, Planning Commission member Gary Howell; Hampshire County – Robert Hott, Alan “Mitch” Davis, Grady B.; WVDOT Mark White, Brian Carr; Cumberland Times-News Mona Ridder, Congressman Bartlett’s Office Brenda Frantz

Garrett County Commissioner Beard welcomed everyone and introduced the other Garrett County participants.

Chairman Spiggle opened the meeting with a discussion on the “US Rt. 50 Needs Assessment” document which had been drafted by the WVDOT and provided to each county in attendance at the last meeting in November. Brian Carr noted that the document included the projects which had been brought up at previous Rt. 50 meetings. Dr. Spiggle requested that a copy of the Rt. 50 document be mailed to each County Commission that did not receive it. Participants from Hampshire, Preston and Mineral Counties all noted that they had looked at the document.

There was discussion on including other items in the document such as: the 4-lane option for Rt. 50; a 4-lane right-of-way with a 2-lane construction (“Super 2”); and, prioritizing the 4-lane improvements at either end of Rt. 50.

Mr. Carr also noted that the Commissioner for the WV Dept. of Transportation has been touring the state and talking with various groups about the Department’s Six Year Plan. The Plan can be viewed on the WVDOT’s website at . Current projects for the department include the completion of Corridor H and improvements to Rt. 220. The next priorities for the Department are: Rt. 9, the Mon-Fayette Expressway and US 35.

It is important for our organization to get our Rt. 50 projects on the State’s priority list for road construction. There is currently $17 billion worth of unfunded road projects.

Gary Howell suggested that we “get creative” in our look for funding sources for these projects. For example, request the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to look at adding the concept of a “Super 2” to the Appalachian Highway Development System (AHDS) criteria for roads and to look at adding additional corridors to the system such as Rt. 50. Since both of these items will require changes approved at the Congressional level, it was noted that including Frederick County, VA would be important as that will bring on board two more Senators and additional Representatives for additional political clout.

The other potential source of “creative” funding may come from the Homeland Security programs as improvements to Rt. 50 could be crucial to developing a more efficient and quick way to evacuate Washington, DC, if necessary.

Mr. Howell also suggested that each county choose a Rt. 50 project that could be easily accomplished and take that list to the State DOT. Then when one of those projects is completed we could publicize our efforts and perhaps attract more public participation and input.

Regional issues that were discussed included the Rt. 220 project. Tier 1 of that project has just started. It is expected to be completed in 18 months to 2 years. The other project is suggested ascetics improvements to the Keyser bridge which serves as the gateway into West Virginia/Maryland. Commissioner Holliday expressed the frustration of the Garrett County Commissioners on the replacement of the Wilson-Corona bridge. Garrett County has the federal bridge funds in hand, but has been waiting for West Virginia to move forward with their portion. Garrett County’s roads engineer has been in contact with West Virginia, but it has been over five years and nothing has moved forward. The Association requested that Brian Carr look into the status of that project.

Administrative issues: Dr. Spiggle reported that he had sent a letter to the Taylor County Commissioners encouraging their continued participation and support. He announced that they submitted their $500 contribution. Dr. Spiggle asked that we continue to encourage the participation of Taylor County. Jennifer Bonner, staff to the Preston County Commissioners will send letters to other Commissioners as her time allows, encouraging participation in the meetings. Dr. Spiggle thanked Brenda Frantz for her attendance and expressed the group’s appreciation for the support of Congressman Bartlett.

The minutes from the November meeting were approved as submitted.

The next meeting will be Wednesday, March 15, 2006. If contact can be made with the Frederick County, VA Commissioners it will be here there. If not, it will be held in Keyser.

ACTION ITEMS – for next meeting

  1. Each county should review the Rt. 50 Needs Assessment document and be prepared to report any suggestions or concerns to Brian Carr of the WV DOT, no later than the next meeting. If your county does not have copy, please contact Brian, ASAP, at 304-558-9580.
  2. Contact the Frederick County, VA Commissioners and encourage their active participation.
  3. Each WV County should pick a project that would be included in one “package” to be sent to the WV DOT with the endorsement of the Rt. 50 Association. The idea is that these would be projects that are easily funded and accomplished as a way to garner additional public support for the organization.
  4. Prepare a list of the Rt. 50 priority projects from each County to be forwarded to Chairman Spiggle to be included in a “package” of projects to take to the WV Legislature.
  5. Begin to work on proposing changes to ARC’s Appalachian Highway Development System, (adding the “Super2” concept and adding new Corridors).