After rejecting an increase in vehicle registration fees, Belmont County commissioners are back to the drawing board in finding a way to provide more money to maintain roads and bridges.
As County Engineer Fred Bennett told our reporter last week, the need is enormous.
Eighty of the 279 county and township bridges in Belmont County are obsolete and/or structurally deficient, Bennett explained. The situation is growing worse, he added. And, heavy trucks used in the gas and oil industry add both to the challenge of maintaining bridges and that of ensuring they have weight limits adequate to handle traffic.
Belmont County is far from alone. Inadequate funding for roads and bridges is a problem throughout the nation.
No one likes to pay higher taxes and fees to the government, at any level. Still, county commissioners should make it a priority to find some way to improve Bennett's ability to keep roads and bridges safe and adequate to handle new demands, including that of the drilling industry.