‘Almost heaven, West Virginia’ –except for higher turnpike tolls

| Friday, November 07, 2008

Higher tolls are on their way for anyone who travels the West Virginia Turnpike, but don’t go planning those alternate routes just yet.

Members of the state Parkways Authority, who met on Thursday, Nov. 6, to discuss the issue, have not said when or how much the tolls will be. What they did say, according to the Beckley Register-Herald, is that they will most definitely be going up.

The chairman of the Parkways Authority board, Joe Martin, told the board that there has been no toll increase on the turnpike since 1981 and that the state cannot afford to let the Turnpike fall into disrepair.

The Register-Herald reported on an independent study, which found that tolls must be increased by 40 percent this year and again by 2013 or the Turnpike officials will be forced to defer $300 million dollars in maintenance projects by 2016.

Martin said an analysis of the toll increase is under way. According to state law, any such toll increase must be put before the public in meetings in the four counties that border the Turnpike.

The state tried an increase a couple of years ago, but it was shot down by a judge who heard a lawsuit brought by a trucker. He was angry that per-toll-booth rates for his trucks had been hiked from $4.25 to $7.

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