Columns/Opinion, Letters to the Editor

Perhaps privatizing DOH was not such a bad idea

Riley Thomas, Morgantown
A trip through Monongalia County while traveling its secondary roads, especially what the Division of Highways (DOH), refers to as “farm roads” is like a return to the early 20th century.
The only maintenance many of these roads have seen in the last five-10 years has been done by local farmers using their tractors to fix the tank traps, better known as “potholes.” This is well beyond being unacceptable, it’s criminal.
I’ve heard the DOH excuses, everyone has. When we complain to the DOH, we get the same answer — these are low priority roads, and they are on a three- to five-year cycle. Bull, these roads have all but been abandoned by the DOH. And now they are telling us it may be another three to five years before they get to them?
The DOH has a history of mismanagement and corruption. The time has come to do something about this. I remember a time when all road repairs were under local control. With this system, things were done in a timely manner, our roads were taken care of. Now everything comes out of the DOH’s District 4 and nothing gets done.
If memory serves me, during Joe Manchin’s first term as governor, he proposed privatizing the DOH. At that time, I felt this was a bad idea, now, I’m not too sure this wasn’t the right way to go. It seems to me that the system is broken and it needs to be fixed.
Government isn’t always the best way to go when it comes to getting a job done; there’s always the political question, and they don’t have to show a profit, there’s no real incentive to get things right the first time.
As an example, look at the mess we have in I-79 north from exit 155 to the state line. I travel that road every day, work seems to have ceased for the past several days, why is this?
The time has come for West Virginia to crawl out of the stone age and join the 21st century.