The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest News

February 16, 2013

House bills will take aim at removing Turnpike tolls

BLUEFIELD — Three bills will soon go before the West Virginia Legislature aimed at removing turnpike tolls from the West Virginia Turnpike.

Delegate Marty Gearheart, R-Mercer, said he has contributed to two bills designed to remove turnpike tolls, which are currently still in the House of Delegates drafting section and not yet before the House. Gearheart said his bills would also provide alternative funding sources that some lawmakers feel would be lost by removing tolls.

“The bills we are entering not only provide for the eliminating of the turnpike tolls but precludes future borrowing secured by turnpike tolls,” he said. “It also provides a funding source for maintenance to the turnpike by the Division of Highways for some time. The reason we have done that is the biggest argument against the removal of tolls is — where would we find the money to maintain the highways if we eliminate the tolls. We want to eliminate that argument.”

Delegate Linda Sumner, R-Raleigh, has also proposed a bill to “discontinue, remove and not relocate all toll collection facilities on the West Virginia Turnpike” before Feb. 1, 2020, as well as the removal of the building used to collect tolls at the intersection of U.S. 19 and I-77 in the Beckley area. Sumner’s bill is currently before the House Committee on Roads and Transportation, but Geartheart feels his bill and Sumner’s will eventually be combined.

“We have two bills that are similar to this bill, but ours are a little more extensive than Delegate Sumner’s,” Gearheart said. “I feel at least one of those two bills that is being sent through will run. I am certain Delegate Sumner will also be a co-sponsor on my bill. Before my entrance into the House, she and then Delegate Frazier, at the time, had introduced a bill about turnpike toll removal. Right now, my bill is still in the drafting section. We submitted it on day one of the legislative session.”

The most recent bill to remove tolls from the West Virginia Turnpike was proposed by Gearheart during the 2012 legislative session, but the bill died in committee. Rates on the toll road were raised as recently as 2009, the first increase to the tolls since 1981. Bonds on the road were originally projected to be paid off in 1999, but are now expected to be paid in full by July 2019. Construction on the turnpike began in 1952 and the road opened to traffic in the mid-1950s.

— Kate Coil is a writer for The Bluefield Daily Telegraph

 

1
Text Only
Latest News
  • W.Va., 11 other states, ask Supreme Court to declare new EPA rules illegal

    Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said Friday that West Virginia led a bipartisan group of 12 states that are asking the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., to declare illegal a settlement agreement in which the EPA promised to issue its now-pending rule concerning existing coal-fired power plants.

    August 1, 2014

  • Ebola outbreak moving faster than control efforts

    An Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 700 people in West Africa is moving faster than efforts to control the disease, the head of the World Health Organization warned as presidents from the affected countries met Friday in Guinea's capital.

    August 1, 2014

  • Oak Hill man arrested for selling drugs to police officers

    A Fayette County man is in jail after his arrest Thursday evening for several drug offenses, according to a press release from the Fayette County Sheriff's Office.

    August 1, 2014

  • Suspect arrested, faces felony charges following shooting incident

    A Mercer County man was arrested and arraigned on felony charges Thursday after a domestic altercation led to a shooting incident in the Montcalm area of Mercer County.

    August 1, 2014

  • pittsburgh rally 5,000 rally in Pittsburgh against EPA Clean Power Plan

    The echo of people chanting, “Hey, hey, EPA, don’t take our jobs away” could be heard in downtown Pittsburgh Thursday. The voices came from about 5,000 United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) members and their families, along with other unions such as the Boilermakers and the Brotherhood of Electrical Workers International (IBEW), marching through the streets.

     

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo 3 Stories

  • Alpha plans to idle coal workers

    Approximately 1,100 employees at 11 Alpha Resources-affiliated surface mines, preparation plants and other support operations in southern West Virginia got notice late Thursday afternoon that their jobs could be in jeopardy.

     

    August 1, 2014

  • New rules to fight black lung disease kick in today

    Joe Massie has spent the last 22 years of his life fighting a disease that takes his breath away, a disease he contracted deep underground in the coal mines over a period of 30 years.  Black lung may take away his breath; it has not stilled his voice.

    August 1, 2014

  • target red Zero tolerance Target Red campaign hopes to lessen intersection crashes

    It happens every day. A driver hurries on his or her way to work, school or maybe nowhere in particular. Just ahead, a green light turns yellow. With a little more gas, the vehicle just might be able to clear the intersection before that light turns red. Or maybe not. 

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Alpha announces intention to lay off 1,100 surface miners

    The announcement dealt another blow to Appalachia's iconic, but dwindling, fossil fuel industry. The company said 2015 industry forecasts show Central Appalachian coal production will be less than half of its 2009 output. It's due to a combination of familiar factors, Alpha said: competition from cheaper natural gas, weak domestic and international markets and low coal prices.

     

    July 31, 2014

  • Justice mines have violations in 5 states

    A West Virginia coal billionaire has more than 250 pending violations at mining operations in Kentucky and four other states.

    July 31, 2014