West Virginia panel recommends toll increase

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 9/9/2013

A governor’s panel in West Virginia is on the verge of recommending a toll increase on the state turnpike as part of a $1.1 billion proposal to fund transportation.

The 31-member West Virginia Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways, appointed last year by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, is set to publish its list of recommendations in the coming days, according to reports.

The commission proposes to allow the West Virginia Turnpike to borrow $1 billion in bonds and increase the tolls to pay for it. The panel also recommends implementing a $200 registration fee for vehicles that run on alternative fuels.

Commissioners asked for public input during a series of public meetings.

“They went around and asked people ‘which increase do you want?’” said Scott Cadle, a professional trucker and OOIDA life member from Letart, W.Va., who was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates last year.

“They want to make (the West Virginia Turnpike) a toll road forever as a revenue source.”

As it stands now, the tolls are scheduled to come off the 88-mile turnpike in 2019. A five-axle tractor trailer currently pays $6.75 to go across.

Cadle says he’s opposed to the forever toll. He suggests targeting wasteful spending before asking taxpayers for more money.

West Virginia already collects a fuel tax of 34.7 cents on gasoline and diesel. West Virginia has the fifth-highest diesel tax in the nation behind Connecticut, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Washington.

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