Delegate Questions Walmart Teays Valley Traffic Study

Moffatt Cites Inconsistencies and Long-term Costs

Jul 02, 2015, 10:51 ET from Delegate Michel Moffatt

TEAYS VALLEY, W.Va., July 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Delegate Michel Moffatt has called upon West Virginia Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox to have the Division of Highways reconsider reliance on a study that could lead to a new traffic signal on West Virginia Route 34, also known as Teays Valley Road, to serve a proposed Walmart Neighborhood Market. The study was conducted by Mountaineer Engineering & Transportation Solutions on behalf of project developers.

"Once a large store like the proposed Walmart market is built, any traffic congestion created by its presence would not be the responsibility of the retailer," Moffatt wrote in his letter to Mattox. "It would be a public responsibility, meaning taxpayers would have to pay for any fixes."

The Regional Intergovernmental Council has identified several projects totaling about $10 million that are needed to fix current congestion problems in Teays Valley, he noted.

"If the proposed Walmart would be built, would the cost of needed projects increase to $13 million or $14 million?" Moffatt asked. "West Virginia already is having trouble paying for all of the road projects that need to be done. Before allowing new problems to be created, the state should study the development's effects more carefully."

Because the demands for repairing and improving West Virginia's highways are outrunning revenues for those projects, Moffatt and other legislators are expecting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to request an increase in the gasoline tax, and perhaps other revenue sources.

"But before we legislators consider giving the Division of Highways more money, we need to know that the agency is using its money effectively," Moffatt wrote. "We need to be assured that the agency is not giving a green light to new projects that would only increase the demands on it. The state should not be handing out traffic lights like M&Ms."

The Putnam County Board of Zoning Appeals is scheduled to decide July 9 whether to grant a special-use permit that would allow the Walmart Neighborhood Market with more than 43,000 square feet to be built in the area along Route 34 that is zoned for retail operations no bigger than 5,000 square feet.

SOURCE Delegate Michel Moffatt