Curious what Roads to Prosperity and Drive Forward WV are, and what they mean for you? This FAQ page answers some of the most common questions.
Jobs associated with the Road Bond fall in three categories: direct jobs, indirect jobs, and induced jobs. Direct jobs are those working on the construction, including engineers, laborers, and equipment operators. Indirect jobs are those jobs associated with the support of the construction, such as delivery drivers, highway material suppliers, and consultants. Induced jobs are those jobs created by the increased demand for services, such as the hotel staff, fast food workers, and gas station employees.
The “Roads to Prosperity” program consists of three types of bonds: GARVEE Bonds, General Obligation Bonds and WV Turnpike Bonds.
Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle Bonds, better known as GARVEE Bonds, are funds that are pledged as a result of future Federal funding for infrastructure. In West Virginia, Governor Justice had the foresight to propose legislation to increase the amount the state is authorized to incur in GARVEE Bonds from $200 million to $500 million during the 2017 regular legislative session. This substantial increase allowed the state to bond construction on half-a-billion dollars in road work.
To provide for General Obligation Bonds, the West Virginia Legislature passed the “Roads to Prosperity Amendment” during the 2017 regular legislative session which authorized a constitutional referendum to be placed for a vote by the citizens of West Virginia. This amendment to the state’s constitution was to allow the state to purchase $1.6B in general obligation bonds, and it overwhelmingly passed by the voters in October 2017. This debt is considered a general obligation debt of the State of West Virginia.
During the 2017 Legislative Session, key legislation was passed providing additional revenue from the tolls on the West Virginia to be utilized on capital improvements through the issuance of bonds. These improvements are mandated to occur within a 10-county area: Fayette, Greenbrier, Kanawha, McDowell, Mercer, Monroe, Nicholas, Raleigh, Summers and Wyoming Counties.
The deteriorating condition of West Virginia’s roads and bridges, as well as development of a funding plan to address the poor condition, has been the topic of discussion in West Virginia since the Blue Ribbon Commission was formed in 2012. Following years of disrepair and neglect—due to insignificant and stagnant funding levels--Governor Jim Justice saw the opportunity to repair the State’s crumbling highway infrastructure, address critical highway safety issues, and jumpstart a struggling economy through creation of the Roads to Prosperity plan. The citizens of West Virginia showed unprecedented support by voting 71% in favor of the Roads to Prosperity amendment on October 7, 2017.
Governor Justice’s vision of the Roads to Prosperity concept blossomed into the Drive Forward initiative. Drive Forward WV is big, bold, and creates immediate economic recovery through the investment of $2.8 billion in transportation improvements across the state. We are seeing that it is creating immediate economic recovery in West Virginia. In fact, GOBankingRates ranked West Virginia as having the fastest growing economy in the nation for 2017.
The first year of increased DMV fees, increased wholesale gas tax, and increased sales tax on new vehicles resulted in approximately $130 million in new revenues for use on the State’s more local service roadways, likely the roads that pass your house. These funds were distributed around the State for resurfacing of West Virginia and County Routes, small bridge repairs, and slip repairs. As the Roads to Prosperity program is now underway, the influx of funds for new roadway construction and repairs will allow the WVDOH’s normal roadway maintenance funds to be dedicated to needs that could not otherwise be addressed.
Project completion timeframes vary, but each project has been selected with the importance it has to improving our roadways and contributing to immediate economic growth.
For projects funded under the General Obligation Bond sale, a provision of the authorizing legislation states that $800M in bonds can be sold in the first year, with a subsequent $400M, $200M, and $200M in each of the respective following years. Any bonds not issued in their respective periods may be carried forward to a subsequent year, before July 1, 2021. The GARVEE projects will generally be constructed in 1-2 years, whereas the larger General Obligation Bond projects and the first series of the WV Turnpike Bond projects, will be completed in 2-4 years.
Emergency response is included in the planning for all DOT projects. For those projects with significant traffic impacts, first responder meetings are held prior to construction starting to ensure emergency services understand the scope of these projects and have an opportunity to contribute to the overall temporary traffic control and incident response planning. Once system expansion projects are completed, police, fire and medical responders will be able to reach their desired destinations quicker and safer.
Drive Forward WV is a mobile portal designed to simplify an otherwise voluminous program. The data displayed through this portal will give the traveling public the resources they need to be informed drivers as they make their way through the Mountain State.
The West Virginia Department of Transportation's free 511 Traveler Information System provides real-time traffic information, including congestion, construction, lane closures, road conditions and severe weather information on all West Virginia interstates and other major highways. The resource is available 24 hours a day via phone by dialing 511 or online at WV511.org. WV 511 advisories also are available from the WV 511 Drive Safe mobile app and via statewide, regional and roadway-specific Twitter feeds. The WV 511 Drive Safe mobile app is available for iPhone and Android smartphones at WV511.org/Mobile, and the WV 511 Twitter feeds are available at WV511.org/Twitter.
Absolutely! The Roads to Prosperity Program was envisioned as a means of economic recovery, and every effort is being made to hire West Virginia residents. If you are interested in working for the Division of Highways please visit our recruitment webpage at:
or you may reach out to our Human Resources Department at (304)558-3111 to speak with a Recruitment Specialist. In addition to jobs within the WVDOH, contractors have also been involved in several job fairs throughout West Virginia.
Compliance with the WV Jobs Act (https://labor.wv.gov/Wage-Hour/Jobs-Act/Pages/default.aspx), is mandatory for any project(s) funded by state funds. This legislation ensures that West Virginians are pursued for available contracting jobs within West Virginia. Additionally, Governor Justice realized the significance of the WV Jobs Act and endorsed legislation strengthening the Act during an October 2017 Special Legislative Session.