West Virginia settles with road paving companies for $101.3M

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia officials announced a $101.3 million settlement Friday in an antitrust suit against 11 asphalt and paving companies the state accused of cornering the market and driving up project costs.

“We’re ending sweetheart deals all across West Virginia,” Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said at a news conference with Gov. Jim Justice.

He called it the state’s largest antitrust settlement and said the savings can be directed to road rebuilding, in a state with no shortage of roads in need of repair and unfinished projects.

Three companies, West Virginia Paving, Kelly Paving and American Asphalt, will make a $30.3 million payment upfront to the state and local governments, which includes five cities and Kanawha County.

The settlement says West Virginia Paving will give an additional $71 million in credits that the state can apply to its currently unpaid projects or for work in the next seven years.

When filed in 2016, the complaint alleged that West Virginia Paving Inc. and its sister companies violated the state’s Antitrust Act. The companies took control of at least 15 asphalt plants and created a scheme that caused the municipalities to pay at least 40% more for asphalt, according to the lawsuit.

The companies had denied the charges and admitted no wrongdoing as part of the settlement.

“Our roads didn’t get into this shape overnight,” Justice said about the state of infrastructure in West Virginia. “It took decades of neglect.”