City user fees deployed into road-improvement projects

By Hannah Williams

MORGANTOWN — Morgantown motorists are seeing their user fees deployed into several road-improvement projects, the city’s engineer said this week.

The controversial $3 weekly tax on an estimated 30,000 people who work within the Morgantown city limits was approved by the City Council over much opposition in October 2015. It purported to raise about $4.6 million annually to be shared by the Department of Public Works and Morgantown Police.

“Before the user fee, our paving projects were a mile of roadway at the most,” Damien Davis told “Morgantown AM” on WAJR. “I think our budgets were $300,000, $400,000, $500,000 for our paving projects, which we would do just little segments of roadways.

“Now, with the user fee, we’ve been able to do $1.5 million, $2 million, $3 million for our paving projects.”

The city’s paving project will improve six miles of roadways starting on Richwood and University avenues. Sections of Grant Avenue, Campus Drive and West Virginia Avenue also are targeted.

“We have the student-sensitive areas where there is a greater need to get those done faster before school starts back up,” Davis said.

The current school-related projects are expected to be completed by the first week of August, with the remaining projects addressed by September.

The public works department also purchased a new paving machine to improve the quality of road repairs, Davis said.

“You can really see the difference when you look and the whole network is getting better,” Davis said. “With the rate we’re doing now, we’ll have them all up to that fair-to-good condition within the next five years.”

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