Monongalia County officials pushing for meeting with governor, DOH

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WDTV) -- Governor Jim Justice made a campaign stop in Morgantown this week and local officials want him to come back to talk business.

Monongalia County officials want Governor Justice to come back to the area for a meeting with DOH officials to talk roads. (WDTV Photo)

On his re-election campaign trail, Justice is touting his administration's investment in road projects across the street.

Monongalia County Commission President Tom Bloom says there's a lack of communication and miscommunication between local and state officials when it comes to road work.

He said he's sent multiple letters to Transportation Secretary Byrd White and the governor's office expressing a desire to schedule a sit-down meeting in Monongalia County. His most recent was sent to White on Wednesday.

In it, Bloom said he wants to know what future road work plans are and to see a running record of completed road work.

"Dear Mr. White,

On behalf of the Monongalia County Commission, I am requesting you and your staff please come to a sit down meeting with us next month. I have asked since July 31, 2019 three questions to be answered. They are:

1) Please send us a RUNNING RECORD of what roads have been completed and what was done on each road?
2) "How do we know what needs to be done if we don't know what has been accomplished?
3) What are the future plans, after this year, on fixing our roads, cleaning our culverts?"

The Governor's office told 5 News it is willing to arrange a meeting with Bloom and DOH officials.

"As of today, the Governor’s Office hasn’t received any recent request from Monongalia County Commissioner Bloom to discuss road issues but would be happy to accommodate a meeting together with DOH officials," a spokesperson said in a written statement Wednesday.

"As for road projects that have been completed or are underway, all West Virginians can access that information every day by going to the West Virginia Department of Transportation’s website at transportation.wv.gov and viewing the interactive map of 2019 roadwork being performed across the entire state," the statement also said.

That recently-released interactive map details road work projects throughout the state, but Bloom says parts of the map are inaccurate. That's why he's asking for a detailed list of road work projects.

Bloom, a Democrat, says the blame he places is not on DOH District 4 officials and highways employees, but rather the leadership team in Charleston.

"We continue to try and offer solutions, but it goes on deaf ears down in Charleston," Bloom said. "Now, I have to say, it's much better and there is work being done."

But Bloom says that work isn't being done in his county that he says is being short-changed by the DOH.

"The money keeps going down to the southern part of the state," Bloom said. "My question is simple. Why are you paving a road every five years if it doesn't need it, while the ones up here do need it? Please answer that question and work with us."

At the town hall, Justice vowed to visit Preston County roads soon. He has another campaign town hall in Bridgeport scheduled for next Tuesday.