W.Va. Department of Highways Questioned by Lawmakers
In a legislative interim meeting this week in Charleston lawmakers questioned officials from the state Department of Transportation and the Division of Highways about everything from current practices to choices in legal representation.
The hearing came in response to ongoing lawsuits - one where federal charges have been filed against state Division of Highways employees in an alleged bribery scheme, and another involving an alleged monopoly that's inflating asphalt prices in the state.
Mike Folio Director of the Department of Transportation’s legal division highlighted changes his agency is making in response to questioned business deals, but says there’s a larger culture of corruption to address.
“I don’t want to be pollyannish about this but I want to be candid - there’s fraud, there’s bid-rigging, there’s collusion in this industry," Folio said. "So we need to be more vigilant, and that’s what we’re attempting to do.”
There may be some financial retribution for taxpayers. Lawmakers and lawyers indicated that should West Virginia Paving, the company that's created the alleged asphalt monopoly, be found guilty, it could face hundreds of millions of dollars in fines.