Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Hampshire County Minutes


September 19th, 2007

Recorded Attendees: Gary Howell – Mineral County, Wayne Spiggle-Mineral County Commission, Mona Ridder-Cumberland Times-News, Bob Fisher MDSHA, Brian Carr – WVDOH Charleston, Dave Moe – GC Development Corp, Tom Conlon – Cumberland, MD, Larry Lemon – Sen. Rockefeller Office, Robert Hott – Hampshire County Commission, Steve Sloanaker – Hampshire County Commission, Michael OO’Brian – Hampshire Review, Charlie Baker – Hampshire County Planner, Ken Musgrave – Mineral County, Les Shoemaker – Hampshire County Dev. Auth., Bill Woods – WVDOH Charleston, Cate Johnson – Congressman Mollohan Office.

Introductions: Steve Sloanaker welcomed the group to Taggart Hall where the meeting was held.

Old Business: Wayne Spiggle presented the group with a letter from Senator Byrd thanking the association for visiting his office in Washington asking for funding for upgrades to US 50 and US 220. In the letter Sen. Byrd stated, “The failure of the 109th Congress to pass the Fiscal Year (FY) 2007 appropriations legislation in a timely manor has resulted in the suspension of earmarks for the duration of FY 2007.”

David Moe and Charlie Baker both gave reports on the meeting with Sen. Byrd. They stated the group would like to see a 4-lane US 50 from Virginia state line to Clarksburg as a long term goal, but had additional request.

Baker stated that West Virginia has 4 projects DOH is funneling the bulk of highway construction money into, those are; The Mon-Fayette Expressway (Morgantown Bypass), Corridor H, US Route 35, and WV State Route 9. To move US 50 to a priority, it has to have the support of Governor Manchin.

Moe requested funding for the West Virginia portion of the US 220 Tier 2 study, explaining that Maryland has its funding source secured. This would enable the study to move forward quickly upon completion of the Tier 1 study currently underway.

He also requested that a bill making the North-South US 220 Corridor part of the Appalachian Development Highway System be introduced. This would secure funding for US 220 from the same source as Corridor H, and make US 220 Corridor O.

Gary Howell explained that the US 220 Corridor is becoming more important as a new traffic pattern is emerging on the east coast. Heavy Truck traffic traveling between the Port of Norfolk and the Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit area is shifting from the I-64, I-95, DC Beltway, I-270, I70, PA/OH Turnpike route to a route that uses I-64, I-95, US 17, I-66, Corridor H, US 220, I-68, I-79, PA/OH Turnpike. A route that is less than 30 miles longer, but is saving more than 2 hours off of travel time by missing the heavy Washington DC traffic.

Howell also requested that Rep. Mollohan also introduce a bill on house side similar to the Senate bill requested of Byrd. He stated this would give the bill a better chance of passing.

New Business: Les Shoemaker, Hampshire County Economic Development Director, requested that the group push for the new 4-lane US 220 to follow the route of the existing US 220 from Moorefield to Cumberland. This would provide the greatest economic impact the area and help facilitate the new traffic pattern better.

Wayne Spiggle said the group should wait to check with the different county commission before making such a decision, but was reminded that at the March 2006 meeting the Association had already made that request.

Shoemaker also asked why a 3-lane project on US 50 through Romney was dropped from the WVDOH’s 6-year plan. Brain Carr of WVDOH explained that there has been some opposition to the project, and that the project was not 15 years old. Being 15 years had elapsed, that a new study would need to be done because of the changes that have occurred over that time.

Charlie Baker stated that Hampshire County was willing to fund some projects that were needed on US 50; but that WVDOH could not guarantee that the money would be used on that specific project. Bill Woods of WVDOH said the must have been some miscommunication and he would check into why Hampshire County was told that.

He went on to state that a new law allows counties to raise user taxes to fund road projects. It would be mostly used by larger counties for large projects, but smaller counties could use it for small projects that may include improving intersections.

The meeting adjourned at 2:07, with the next meeting to be held in Mineral County on November 21st.

November Meeting:

Mineral County is next on the schedule to host the November 21th meeting.

Meeting Adjourned at 2:07.

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