Ashton Marra Published

Commission Recommends Increase in Fees, Road Bond to Fund W.Va. Road Projects


Members of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways released their final recommendations Wednesday after a 20 month delay.

The commission was charged by Gov. Tomblin in 2012 with finding new revenue sources for the state’s aging roadways.

The 57 page report recommends lawmakers increase DMV fees and the state sales tax on motor vehicles. Those two increases, along with a new annual fee on alternative fuel vehicles, would create more than $115 million in new revenue.

Commission members also recommend diverting the consumer sales taxes paid on car parts and services from the general revenue fund to the state Road Fund for an additional $25 million gain.

The largest, and most controversial, recommendation calls on lawmakers to keep tolls in place on the West Virginia Turnpike inevitably, leveraging the highway to float a $1 billion road bond for new construction across the state.

“The very last study, which was done in 2010, showed that 74 percent of the tolls that are paid on the Turnpike are paid by out-of-state drivers,” Commission Chair and Secretary of the Department of Administration Jason Pizatella said after the report’s release,

Pizatella said if sucha  project is approved, 25 percent of the bonds funds would be dedicated to construction projects in the four counties that house the turnpike. They include Kanawha, Raleigh, Mercer and Fayette.