More controversy over Gov. Justice’s COVID-19 spending plan

Local News

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice is proposing to spend $150 million on grants to keep small businesses open. That has wide, bipartisan support, though some think it could have been spent sooner.

But Justice also wants to designate $100 million for highway and road repairs, saying bad roads could prevent people from getting to medical care.

“Absolutely for roads, that will make it better for our people to be able to get to emergency service, or to hospitals, or to medical treatment, and everything,” said Gov. Jim Justice, R-West Virginia.

But some lawmakers are questioning the roads part of the governor’s plan. They want more money for testing and prevention, as well as hospital facilities, and reimbursing local governments for their COVID expenses.

“I’m all for fixing roads, but I don’t believe that COVID relief money was intended to help for roads. It was intended to help the struggling people of West Virginia. And unfortunately, there’s a whole lot of them,” said Del. Mike Pushkin, D-Kanawha.

The governor says he has a legal opinion to support the roads plan. Critics say that opinion came from a private law firm, at taxpayer’s expense. They question why he didn’t consult with the state Attorney General.

“As for the $150 million, the governor wants to provide for small business grants, and says the guidelines and application process should be available early next week,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.

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