West Virginia schedules public hearings about toll increases

| 5/19/2006

The West Virginia Turnpike Authority is to be held more accountable when trying to raise tolls, thanks to a new state law.

When truck tolls jumped without much public notice from $4.25 to $7 in January, truckers said the hike was unfair.

It wasn’t just that truckers were mad about the rising cost, but it was the lack of public notice and public input that irked a group of people enough to file a lawsuit against the state. In that case, the plaintiffs won and a county judge reinstated the old toll rates.

The West Virginia Legislature then passed a law prohibiting the turnpike authority from selling bonds without state approval.

The law also requires the turnpike authority to hold public hearings about toll-rate changes and formally announce proposed toll changes 20 days prior to those hearings.

The authority must also indicate the reasons for the increase and field public questions at the hearings. Following any public hearings, the public will have 15 days to file written comments.

There are no public hearings scheduled at the current time.

– By David Tanner, staff writer