Mercer Co. leaders come together in support of road bond - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Mercer Co. leaders come together in support of road bond

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MERCER COUNTY, WV (WVVA) -

Dozens of elected and non-elected officials in Mercer County gathered for a press conference Thursday afternoon to show support of the Roads to Prosperity bond referendum, a bond that is set to fund $116 million worth of projects throughout the county. 

Local officials including members of the Mercer County Commission, Mayors of Bluefield, Princeton and Bluewell as well as the Mercer County Economic Development Authority promised to vote yes for the road bond as early polling begins September 22nd.

Many officials say the road bond is unlike one they’ve ever seen before in regards to the impact it will have, both short and long term

"Economic development, it depends on a vibrant highway system, vibrant infrastructure, and this is our opportunity without lifting a finger without having to do anything else but get out and vote for it," said Chairman of the Economic Development Authority Frank Brady. "I think the biggest challenge we have is educating the public to understand exactly what that bond issue is."

Educating the public and explaining the details of the bond has been a top priority on all levels of government, as Governor Jim Justice began his self-proclaimed "Jim's Promise" tour back in July.

Local leaders agree that the strong push for voters' support may stem from a history of similar bonds being turned down at the polls, most recently an education bond referendum in Monroe county that failed to pass as 1,189 people voted no and 609 people voted in favor of it.

"I think there is a little worry that it may not pass," says Ron Martin, Mayor of Bluefield, WV. "and that would be a devastation to what we’re trying to accomplish both here in the city and in Mercer County."

Officials say the main issue may be that the public may believe a yes vote for the road bond means taxes will be raised. However, local leaders want to reassure that is not the case, 

"It’s not going to impact our citizenry at all, it’ll just be additional funds to be able to spend on infrastructure," Brady said. "Their taxes, their tolls will stay just as they are, what they already are."

CEO and President of the Princeton-Mercer Chamber of Commerce Robert Farley says a vote in favor of the road bond is a non-brainer.

"I don’t see how anybody could not vote for it," Farley said. "Everybody benefits. Every person living in the state of West Virginia benefits."

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