Will West Virginians get the highways jobs?

By Brad McElhinny in News
October 05, 2017 at 3:35PM

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Gov. Jim Justice says he wants a $1.6 billion road bond to stimulate West Virginia’s economy and create thousands of jobs.

As he’s been asked about the jobs during his tour of the state in support of the road projects, Justice has acknowledged he can’t guarantee all the jobs will be filled by West Virginians. But he always says he hopes as many as possible will go to state residents.

“We’re going to try to hire as many West Virginians as we possibly can to do the jobs. Hopefully we’ll end up hiring every job to be a West Virginian. But reality is, that won’t happen,” Justice said this week in Moorefield.

“I’ll tell you this, those contractors that are hiring people that aren’t from West Virginia, we will urge them to hire people who are from West Virginia. And on top of that, we’ll make sure that every dadgum tax dollar is collected. Every tax dollar.”

West Virginia voters go to the polls Saturday to approve or reject the road bond amendment. Polls open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m. The Secretary of State’s office reported 37,434 voters participated in the early period that ended Wednesday.

The West Virginia Affiliated Construction Trades Foundation is a supporter of the road bond, but would like greater assurances of employing all West Virginians possible.

“The devil’s in the details,” said Steve White, director of the Affiliated Construction Trades. “He’s been able to push forward a major road building plan that we’ve needed for years.”

White would like to minimize the role of hope. He would like more specifics aimed at ensuring West Virginia contractors and construction workers have every opportunity to compete for the possible infrastructure jobs ahead.

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