Opinion

Who said W.Va. highway signs were illegible?

An editorial from the Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — New year and all, it’s probably too late to change the road we’re on.

That’s all the more apparent judging by the latest news items from the state Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Division of Highways (DOH).

No, it’s not so much the worsening conditions of the roads in West Virginia or just that it’s wintertime, either.

More to the point, it’s how the DOH never fails to amaze us with the direction it takes while managing the sixth largest road system in the nation under one agency’s supervision.

Most of us are willing to forgive and forget the potholes, uneven roads, iffy snow removal and other hazards.

However, recent reports will only fuel more blame directed at the DOH and be all but impossible to overlook.

A 1-cent state tax hike took effect today on the wholesale price of a gallon of gasoline, as recalculated by the Tax Department.

That variable rate is supposed to help state funding keep up with inflation to maintain and repair roads.

That recalculation raises the state tax to 54.1 cents per gallon. The federal tax is 18.4 cents per gallon and is not indexed to inflation. It’s also unchanged since 1993.

On average, state and local taxes add 30.4 cents to gasoline, according to the American Petroleum Institute.

The other news item is probably even more disconcerting. The state is embarking on a program to replace all its road signs on interstates and U.S. highway routes.

Why? To make them more visible and more legible.

How? By changing the font, or type face, on the signs and employing new reflective technologies. The new font, Clearview, will replace what’s unofficially known as Highway Gothic.

We don’t doubt that this new typeface and reflective technology might enhance these signs.

However, the legibility and visibility of road signs is the one complaint that rarely comes up.

Indeed, this is the first time anyone has suggested our road signs are not visible or legible…

Click here for the Dominion Post e-edition.

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