The commissioner of highways and cabinet secretary for the West Virginia Department of Transportation spoke with members of the Elkins Rotary Club Monday, updating those in attendance about the West Virginia bridges and highway systems.
During his talk, Paul A. Mattox Jr. announced the contract for another 10.5 miles of Corridor H was just awarded to J.F. Allen Co. The stretch of highway runs from Davis to Bismark.
Mattox said 80 miles of the 138 miles of Corridor H are now open to traffic.
"There are 39,000 miles of highway in West Virginia to maintain, making the state the sixth largest highway system in the U.S.," Mattox said. "We are also responsible for 7,000 bridges throughout the state."
Mattox said of the 36,000 miles of highway, only 27 percent is eligible for federal aid, and the state is responsible for the remainder. He also said West Virginia rates last in how much is spends per mile to maintain the roads.
Because of stagnate funding and the poor economy, West Virginia needs to find more innovative ways to raise funds for highway and bridge maintenance, he added.
"Increasing the amount of funding available for road projects ... will create jobs in the short and long term," Mattox said. "This will attract new businesses and help sustain businesses in West Virginia. It is an investment in our future that will benefit us now and for our children and grandchildren."
Mattox also encouraged the group to get the word out to others.
"As members of an organization of concerned citizens, you need to let citizens and legislators know that we have transportation needs in West Virginia that must be addressed and funded," he said.
Mattox is a native of Nitro, and he holds a Bachelor of Science degree from West Virginia University Institute of Technology and a Master of Science degree in engineering from Marshall University College of Graduate Studies. He is a graduate of Leadership West Virginia and has served as president of the West Virginia Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Mattox is a registered professional engineer in West Virginia, Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky and Alabama and is also a registered professional land surveyor in West Virginia.