Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Garrett County Meeting Minutes


July 18th, 2007

Recorded Attendees: Gary Howell – Mineral County, David Stemple – Preston County, Delores Stemple – Preston County, Wayne Spiggle-Mineral County Commission, Mona Ridder-Cumberland Times-News, Bob Fisher MDSHA, Arvin Harsa – Preston County, Dave Price – Preston County Commission, Brian Carr – WVDOH Charleston, Clyde Burdock – Mineral County Planning Commission President, Bob Schadler – WV House Delegate 49th, Harry Boggs – Mineral County, Fred Holiday – Oakland, Peggy Jamison – Garrett County, Craig Jennings – Preston county Commission, Dave Moe – GC Development Corp, Joe Deneault – WVBT, Gary Ruddell – Garrett County, Tom Hammonds – WVDOH Charleston, Denny Glotfelty – Garrett County Commissioner, Robert Amtower – WVDOH District 5, Tom Conlon – Cumberland, MD.

Opening & Introductions: Lunch took place at the Cornish Inn in Oakland, MD. Denny Glotfelty welcomed everyone to the meeting at 1 PM.

Old Business: David Moe stated that the US 220 North-South Corridor had funding for the Tier 2 study in Maryland, but West Virginia had yet to secure the Federal Funding. Gary Howell interjected that the US 50 Association had recently became a participating agency with the Federal Highway Administration on the US 220 Corridor, and requested the group draft a letter requesting funding for West Virginia’s portion. The group agreed that a letter should be sent, and asked Howell to do so.

New Business: Wayne Spiggle stated that US 50 should be brought up at a regional governors meeting to be held soon by Greater Cumberland.

West Virginians for Better Transportation sent Joe Deneault to speak with the group. He presented statistics that 30% of the roads in West Virginia were below standard, and 1/3 of all bridges were deficient or otherwise needing replaced. Of the current projects WVDOH wishes to complete most currently working at DOH will not live long enough to see them completed.

He went on to say the purpose of WVBT is to raise awareness of the problem. Currently WVDOH will need an additional 150 million dollars just to maintain the status quo and not fall further behind. Capital Investment in the state highways is rising at 1.4% per year, but costs are rising faster. Out of 1 billion dollars spent by WVDOH only 114 million is available for road improvements.

West Virginia is unique being one of only four states that totally fund all roads within the state except for cities and towns, and this puts additional pressure on WVDOH not experienced by most states. WVBT will not push specific projects, but has two main goals. Educate the public to the importance of good roads, and explain that a funding crisis is approaching that needs to be addressed.

Brain Carr of WVDOH Charleston asked Mr. Deneault if the group had identified anyway to raise revenue that would be acceptable to the public. He responded that nothing had been identified. Preston County Commissioner Dave Price asked what other states were doing. Mr. Deneault stated Toll Roads in populated areas, Tax Incremental Financing in growth areas, Private-Public Partnerships on toll roads, and selling toll roads to private companies.

Tom Conlon asked how West Virginia’s gas tax was spent. Currently some was going to non-road road projects, but that was changing. One thing that recently changed is the removal of the Courtesy Patrol from the WVDOH budget. Conlon went on to ask if West Virginia had considered changing from a per gallon gas tax to a percent sales tax, so that it would fluctuate with price of fuel.

WV Delegate Bob Schadler explained that WV’s gas tax is based on the average wholesale price of fuel, and not the retail price. The Delegate went on to say that the WVBT is a good thing and will bring awareness to the problems faced by West Virginians.

Wayne Spiggle asked the group if they would join the WVBT association, and the group agreed.

On funding, Bob Fisher of MDSHA reported that in Howard and Frederick Counties, MD an excise tax was being put on new subdivision to pay for road improvements in the immediate area. Gary Howell said that would be fine for areas experiencing high growth, but not in areas not experiencing growth. Mineral County for example lost population in the 2005 US Census estimate, and as a result an excise tax on new subdivisions could adversely affect the local economy stopping new housing. Mr. Fisher agreed that it only works best in high growth areas.

Wayne Spiggle told the group that Gary Howell had created a blog for the group. The website is, The website has all minutes, agendas and out going letters as far back as March 2006, and is viewable to the public.

Gary Howell asked Brian Carr of WVDOH Charleston and Bob Amtower head of WVDOH District 5 if anything could be done about Dorsey’s Curve on the Allegheny Front. Noting that the road was closed during the last US 50 meeting, and that a crash last week also closed the road, Mr. Howell stated that enough guard rail was being replaced to keep a steel mill running. Mr. Amtower stated the recent crashes were by drivers that could not read the English road signs. One driver was from eastern Europe, and the other from Jamaica. In these cases it was the drivers and not the road that caused the crashes.

Mr. Amtower went on to say the use of GPS units is putting vehicles on to roads they should not be on. The GPS units are directing traffic to use US 50 from Clarksburg east instead of using Interstate 68.

September Meeting:

Hampshire County is next on the schedule to host the September 19th meeting.

Meeting Adjourned at 1:57.

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