to bow to pressure to preserve millions in federal highway dollars, legislation
that would lower West Virginia’s drunken-driving threshold appears to be on the
fast track this session.
first bill of the 2004 legislative session in West Virginia cleared the Senate
Jan. 16 when senators unanimously approved a proposal to reduce the
drunken-driving limit from 0.10 percent to 0.08 percent, the Daily Telegraph reported. SB166 now heads to the House for consideration.
2000 federal law required each state’s legislature to adopt the 0.08 limit by
Oct. 1, 2003, or lose 2 percent of its highway money. West Virginia is one of
only four states (Colorado, Delaware and Minnesota being the others) yet to conform
to the federal mandate.
Virginia’s previous refusal to adhere to the standard cost the state $2.6
million in highway dollars when lawmakers ignored the Oct. 1 deadline, the
newspaper reported. Next year, the loss will be $5.2 million, with the penalty
growing to $10.5 million in the 2007 budget year.
that adopt the new limit by Oct. 1, 2006, can recover the withheld funds.