A report from the West Virginia Division of Highways shows that the
state must come up with innovative ways to fund highway construction.
Financial estimates indicate the state will need at least $20 billion
during the next 20 years to complete the 170 road projects the agency has on
the books. The state has enough funding to complete about 8 percent of the
The state’s Highways Commissioner Paul Mattox told a legislative interim
committee last week that the state cannot rely on the traditional road funding
sources of fuel and privilege taxes and federal highway funds to complete
needed road and bridge work.
“We’ve got to look at other sources of revenue, and they have to be
significant sources of revenue,” Mattox told lawmakers, The Charleston Gazette reported.
One possible solution mentioned would be to use half of increased
property tax collections from development agencies along new highway corridors
to fund roads.
Another alternative would be to allow voter referendums on user fees
that would be used to finance road bonds, The
Other ideas being floated include tweaking fuel tax rates and
partnering with private groups to operate toll roads, The Associated Press reported.
Mattox said part of the problem is that costs for road construction
have increased at the same time state road fund collections have decreased.
“Our road fund keeps eroding. Our need is great, and our resources
continue to dwindle,” he said.
To make matters worse, West Virginia is one of only four states where
county governments do not help cover the costs of state-maintained roads.