Ashton Marra Published

Highways Commission to Release Final Report 20 Months Late

West Virginia Turnpike

More than a year and a half after its initially announced release date, members of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways are set to release their final report Wednesday.

The commission began its work in October 2012, studying the state’s highway system, polling West Virginians on their priorities and compiling a list of new revenue sources as well as efficiencies.

In September 2013, the group held their final meeting to discuss recommendations, which include increasing the motor vehicle sales tax and DMV fees as well as continuing tolls on the West Virginia Turnpike to leverage more than $1 billion for new construction.

“To be very clear about it, we all know that our highway systems are deteriorating. That’s true around the country,” Sen. Mike Hall said of the pending release. Hall is a non-voting member of the commission

“We’re also aware that nobody wants to hear they are going to pay some new revenue or tax or so forth, but somewhere between the needs we have and the revenue we need, there is an answer and the Blue Ribbon Commission it the first shot at that.”

Hall expects the Joint Committee on Finance to discuss the report during interim meetings before forming any opinions on possible legislation for the 2016 session.

In a written statement, Tomblin’s Communications Director Chris Stadleman said:

“After receiving the report, Gov. Tomblin will work with legislators to review the commission’s recommendations and evaluate what measures represent the most appropriate and effective way to improve our highways without placing undue burdens on residents.”

The report is scheduled to be released at a 1:30 meeting Wednesday.