Gov. Joe Manchin released this statement today after learning about the West Virginia Turnpike toll increase plan passed by the West Virginia Parkways Authority:
“I want to thank the parkways officials for their professional, compassionate and responsible approach to handling their fiduciary responsibility for not only southern West Virginia, but for all the citizens of West Virginia. Today’s decision gives our future leaders and our citizens the option to make an informed decision in 2019 as to whether to return this roadway to the Division of Highways or to keep it as a toll road.
“The West Virginia Parkways Authority listened to the public concerns presented in the last few weeks and the plan they passed today takes into account those concerns while fulfilling their responsibility to maintain the highway and keep it safe for travelers.
“By eliminating the burden of the Tamarack debt service, they are freeing up money that allows them to lower the toll increase for most local users. While the vast majority of Turnpike users are from out of state, commuter pass holders will not see an increase at all and regular users, including local residents and businesses, as well as commercial traffic will also receive discounts. And non-commercial users of West Virginia E-Z Pass are still able to deduct a portion of the cost from their adjusted gross income on their state tax return.
“We all know that we have a critical and immediate need to maintain the Turnpike and to find the revenue that will allow us to do that. This new toll plan is a responsible decision that gives the Authority the tools they need to bring the road up to standards without overburdening the most frequent users of the highway.
“I thank all the people who wrote and called and came out and talked with Parkways Authority members about better ways to do this. With their input and ideas, I think we’ve got a good plan that meets our bonding and maintenance requirements, yet eases the increase for most West Virginians who will use the roadway.”- Gov. Joe Manchin III
Jama Jarrett or Melvin Smith