Talking Traffic and Transportation in West Virginia

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV - Transportation professionals from around West Virginia call this year's planning conference a meeting of the minds.

"It's been an excellent conference, we've had over a hundred folks register, and we've had topics ranging from local planning to regional planning, looking at federal legislation on funding," says Robert Pennington, Director of West Virginia Department of Transportation Planning.

Although organizations have come from across the state, they're tackling similar problems.

"One of the major concerns facing all DOT's, not just West Virginia, is going to be the funding; the funding gap we all experience. We recently got federal legislation passed to give us a two-year extension of the highway funding, which will allow us to do a little bit more longer term planning," comments Pennington.

This is the first time the conference has been held in the Eastern Panhandle. Event leaders say West Virginia's four eastern counties are the fasting growing in the state, so there's congestion issues.

"So we're having to look at all this traffic migrating in from the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area, which is putting a strain on the infrastructure," says Pennington.

This means they're looking at the flow of public transportation to and from cities.

"We've got a lot of growth and projected traffic, we're addressing that on the transportation system in that we're trying to plan and accommodate that growth and the infrastructure needs that are needed to facilitate the movement of people and goods as we go into the future," says Bob Gordon, Director of the Hagerstown Eastern Panhandle Metropolitan Planning Organization.

WVDOT is focused on improving the quality of life for residents and commuters.

"Other than just building highways, how can we be more efficient and try and make things more efficient with what we do have. Limited resources has a big impact on that but we're trying to do the best that we can to try and make it better for everybody," says Gordon.

By swapping success stories, transportation groups believe they can access funding and impact local roads in a positive way.

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