West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin signed a bill this month
eliminating a mandate for a $55 million interchange along the state’s turnpike
in Raleigh County. It also prevents the selling of bonds without lawmakers’ approval.
The measure won legislative approval after a circuit judge’s
decision to roll back tolls on the West Virginia Turnpike.
The new law, previously SB557, rescinds a 2004 law that
required the state’s Parkways, Economic Development and Tourism Authority to
build an interchange at Shady Spring.
A $62 million lane-widening project near the North Beckley interchange and other road and bridge work remain.
The Parkways Authority said the cost to build the Shady
Spring interchange led them to implement new tolls Jan. 1 at each of the
turnpike’s three toll plazas. The rates were increased from $4.25 to $7 for
five-axle trucks and from $1.25 to $2 for passenger vehicles.
In mid February, Kanawha County Circuit Judge Irene Berger
granted a temporary injunction sought by businesses that use the 88-mile toll
route that runs from Charleston to Princeton, The Associated Press reported. She agreed with them that the public did not receive sufficient
public notice when the hikes were proposed.
The toll decrease took effect immediately. It also halted
any other increases in tolls until further order by the courts.
The new rule also mandates that bonds only could be sold to
refinance debt. Any new bonds for construction could not be sold without the
In addition, the new law requires public notice and public
hearings before the authority could increase toll rates.