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Inflation Makes State’s Highway Construction More Expensive

Interim Finance Session 26.png
West Virginia Legislature
West Virginia Department of Transportation Secretary Jimmy Wriston speaking to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance

At an interim meeting of the Joint Committee on Government and Finance on July 26, West Virginia Department of Transportation Secretary Jimmy Wriston said the department’s contracts for current projects have clauses to adjust for rising inflation. While it relieves some of the added costs for contractors, it raises the project fee for the department.

“If all of our projects today were completed, and I had to calculate that asphalt and fuel adjustment and pay that today, it would exceed 14 million dollars,” said Wriston.

Supply chain shortages are also making it harder for the department to buy equipment and vehicles.

“The Division of Highways runs on its trucks,” Wriston said. “That's a particular concern to us.”

Wriston suggested the state should develop a policy for upcoming projects under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to include clauses that compensate contractors to offset added expenses.

“We're always anxious to be told what we can do to lower barriers to activation on things,” Speaker of the House Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, said. “So if you're trying to adjust or make mid-course corrections on anything that we can do to be helpful on, we'd certainly appreciate knowing that.”

Part-time Huntington Reporter, dadkins@wvpublic.org

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