For the fourth straight year, the "Green
Scissors" report -- a document that
targets wasteful programs subsidized by taxpayer dollars -- has recommended
canceling West Virginia's Corridor H. Corridor H is a proposed 100-mile, four-
lane highway from Elkins, W.V. to the Virginia state line that would cost more
than a billion dollars to build.
According to West Virginia Chapter Conservation Chair Jim Sconyers, "This road
will impact dozens of pristine high mountain streams and funnel traffic right
through the heart of the Monongahela National Forest, which is a true treasure
not only for West Virginia, but for all the Eastern United States. With a tourism
industry poised to free us from traditional reliance on coal and timber, we
can't afford projects like this. They will kill the goose that lays the green
In addition, "Corridor H is a good example of an unneeded road," said
Holtzclaw, the Club's National Transportation Committee chair. "Projected
traffic in the Potomac Highlands area, where it would run, is half of the
national standard to merit a four-lane highway."
So who wants it? Among its proponents are several prominent landowners who
see the sparsely populated, unzoned West Virginia highlands as prime sprawl
The West Virginia highway department has only enough federal and state funds
to pay for about 15 miles of the road. But the Clinton administration's
Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) includes special
funding that would pay for most of this road if the act is reauthorized this
spring. No other region in the United States gets this kind of special funding for
new highways, according to Bonni McKeown, Club member and president of
Corridor H Alternatives.
"Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), Gov. Cecil Underwood and the highway
department are trying to quash resistance here by making people think it's a
done deal, but it's not; the ISTEA bill hasn't passed yet," said McKeown.
The Club is pushing for an ISTEA reauthorization that improves conditions for
pedestrians and bicycles, better supports mass transit and eliminates highway