THE Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways hasn't submitted its final report, but it is not too early to deem it a colossal failure.
What was billed as a gathering of the best and brightest minds in our state to determine needs, efficiencies, and innovative means of paying for additional needs in our highway system appears to be a thinly veiled mechanism to heap additional costs on the backs of West Virginians in the name of a contrived crisis.
The commission has determined that an additional $1.13 billion is needed annually for West Virginia highways.
Such a recommendation would lead one to believe that there would be reams of reports detailing what could be expected for this amount.
Yet, what I have seen is one report from one consulting firm, which currently contracts with the Department of Highways an average of about $1.5 million per year, and will benefit from additional spending.
Either specifics don't exist or they haven't been released to the representatives that will be expected to eventually appropriate the dollars.
The Commission seems to have tasked the Division of Highways to find efficiencies in its own department.
The transportation secretary submitted a long list, indicating the department has already saved $150 million. No outside savings recommendations, no audit, and certainly not a single dollar returned to the general fund.
Why did it take the prompting of the Blue Ribbon Commission for the Division of Highways to spend the taxpayers' dollars wisely? How long have we been wasting $150 million a year?
Finally the commission addressed the issue of raising additional money for their recommendations.