A list as long as your state roads: Public needs to keep after leaders to make good on promises of maintenance, repairs

We cannot help but ask, “What took you so long”?
If that question implies we believe the recent promises to fix our roads it shouldn’t.
Because we won’t believe it until the follow-up matches the hopes they have generated.
In recent weeks we either got the impression our political leaders suddenly discovered our roads were an indignity to drive on.
Or they were more concerned with ensuring it didn’t happen on their watch, though many of them have been in office for years.
Then last week, Gov. Jim Justice requested a comprehensive list of what needed to be done to bring our roads up to snuff.
And what the Division of Highways district engineers and county supervisor needed to be able to do the job.
As you would imagine, the governor might have been a little more discerning about what he asked for.
There’s nothing wrong with compiling such a wish list but practically every road in most counties was probably already on it.
We defer to the DOH being the experts about repairing and repaving roads, but why didn’t Justice just ask the public to list our bad roads.
After all, drivers and residents of these roads know them well and  have complained constantly for years about their condition.
How do we know that? Over the years those complaints were emailed or phoned in about practically every road in our region.
All the while we listened to or counted the words and initiatives dedicated to repairing our roads.
In one governor’s State of the State Address we counted 50 words about roads out of 5,000.
Of the thousands of bills introduced in the past 10 years a small percentage were directed at roads.
This despite the fact our horrible roads were no secret and were the cause for more of our state’s economic woes than any tax,  regulation, stereotype or anything else.
Now, we have a master list of almost 15,000 projects that need to be addressed across the state.
The next step is to prioritize the jobs on the lists and figure out how much money is needed.
Of course, it’s always about the money, but it’s going to take time, too. No not 15,000 years.
But at least 10 to 15 years and that’s for roads not highly susceptible to slipping, flooding, frost heaves or simply crumbling under heavy truck traffic.
No one expects an overnight restoration of our roads. But we do expect progress and someone to keep score.
Still, unless the public sustains its outrage at the long list of deplorable road conditions this effort will simply run out of gas.