Route 35 vote postponed in West Virginia

| Thursday, February 03, 2011

Officials with the West Virginia Parkways Authority have pushed their vote back a week on a toll project that truckers say would be very expensive if approved.

The proposed toll for five-axle vehicles on the proposed new U.S. Route 35 in Mason and Putnam counties would amount to $17 to travel 14.6 miles of new roadway.

West Virginia Department of Transportation spokesman Brent Walker said the Parkways board rescheduled this week?s meeting to Thursday, Feb. 10.

?Recognizing the impact (positive and negative) the idea of tolls or no-tolls would have, I believe everyone, from the Parkways board members to the Department of Transportation to the Governor?s office wants to make sure all information is in and thoroughly reviewed and contemplated,? Walker said in an e-mail.

The plan centers on using bonds to build the roadway and paying off the bonds through tolls. Since the financial plan was brought to the board in November 2010, interest rates have added $20 million to the project. The project is now estimated at more than $200 million.

OOIDA Life Member Scott Cadle is helping to lead a group in opposition to the toll road. He says truckers will not use the roadway if toll rates are approved as is.

The current U.S. 35 is only two lanes and is considered dangerous by many. Cadle says few doubt the need for a new roadway, but most people he talks to are opposed to the toll plan.

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