Road to crookedness can always be paved with good intentions

Some history: Federal road funds were already stalled before Sen. Robert C. Byrd died in 2010.
According to the state’s longtime deputy revenue secretary, West Virginia’s share of federal road funds has averaged about $400 million for 15 years.
Yet, the Justice administration is projecting the state will receive about $471 million in federal road funds  for the next fiscal year. It’s suspected that high-ball estimate is to give the administration authority to use any extra funds for secondary road work improvements.
The Justice administration also recently reported the state had a record-setting month for revenue collections in April at $605 million. That puts the state about $77 million above estimates 10 months into the current fiscal year.
As a result of those numbers the Legislature approved a supplemental appropriation bill Monday for another $54 million for road repairs.
It’s apparent, too, the emphasis on road work spending that began in mid-March also tapped into newer revenues approved in 2017 to pay for the Roads to Prosperity initiative.
Though those revenue streams are essential to pay off these bonds in the next 25 years, they were also targeted for “pay-as-you-go” projects, such as paving, slides and other local road improvements.
What we are beginning to wonder now is how much the state is spending on these road repairs and how accurately it’s being tracked?
This week, legislative leaders called on the state Department of Transportation to begin providing them a monthly update on road work, starting in June.
Of course, members of the interim Joint Committee on Government and Finance, want to know the what, when and where of road work around the state.
But we suspect most importantly they want to know the particulars about the how much. No, not the tons of asphalt being used or the miles being ditched.
Rather, how much the state is spending and the funds’ sources to turn around poor road conditions.
This committee already receives monthly  reports and updates from a host of agencies, including PEIA, DHHR, Lottery and Revenue.
Now add the DOT to that list amid this major spending on road work and maintenance.
Though we have yet to see much of this road work or maintenance in Monongalia County we don’t begrudge any county  benefiting from this effort.
Still, it’s imperative that  DOT officials accurately account for any and all road funds  used to improve our  roads.
Otherwise, the state is creating the conditions for corruption and fraud to serve themselves  part of these funds.
Some more state history: The road to crookedness is also paved with good intentions.

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