A bill that passed the West Virginia House of Delegates on Wednesday, April 3, would end the collection of tolls on the West Virginia Turnpike once the debts related to construction projects are paid off in the year 2020.
The bill, HB3163, filed by Democrats but with bipartisan support, passed with a vote of 97-1. It advances to the Democrat-controlled state Senate for consideration. The bill is identical to HB2559 filed by Republican delegates.
Once the roadway bonds are retired, control and maintenance of the turnpike will fall to the taxpayer-funded Division of Highways, according to bill language.
Delegate Scott Cadle, R-Letart, a trucker and life member of OOIDA, was one of the 97 who voted in favor of the turnpike bill.
“It’s a good day in West Virginia,” he said following the vote.
Initial construction of the 88-mile West Virginia Turnpike began in 1952. Cost overruns, expansion and modernization continued to stretch out the need to collect tolls.
HB3163 is the closest lawmakers have come to setting a sunset date for toll collection. The bill would not dissolve the West Virginia Parkways Authority, however.
A five-axle truck currently pays $6.75 in cash, $5.40 with a West Virginia-issued EZ-Pass or $5.87 with a non-West Virginia E-ZPass at Main Line toll plazas. The North Beckley Plaza carries a $1.60 cash rate and an E-ZPass rate of $1.28 to $1.39 for trucks.
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