The Times West Virginian


June 16, 2013

What’s the solution for funding highways?

There was a time when the federal government put substantial highway dollars in the states to match funds for projects.

That was two wars and a recession ago, though. That was when Congress had its differences but could pass a bill or two every now and again. This Congress and the Congress before hasn’t been able to pass a budget that prevents integral federal employees from being furloughed, much less a highway bill that adequately funds states’ needs.

So, West Virginia, Ike every other state if the union is hurting when it comes to highway dollars. Add to that a substantial chunk of funding coming from gasoline taxes. Fuel efficiency is all the rage these days. So if cars are consuming less and less gas, there is less revenue coming from taxes.

There goes an adequate stream of highway funding. The governor’s blue ribbon commission on highways has identified the needs. And the panel has identified possible funding to meet those needs. These measures include: increasing the sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent; increasing vehicle registration and title fees; raising the cigarette tax by 50 cents a pack; increasing the excise tax on diesel fuel; and raising the automobile privilege tax.

The kicker is that if every single measure were put into place, it would generate $400 million each year. And that’s about half needed to fully maintain and repair the state’s roads and bridges.

So what to do, what to do? We took the question to our readers last week, the readers who log on each week to and vote in ur online poll. Last week we asked, “A blue-ribbon panel is set to make suggestions for how to increase funding for road work in West Virginia by July 1. What would you be willing to pay?”

And here’s what you had to say:

• Tolls on new roads — 5.13 percent

• A few pennies more per gallon of gas — 9.4 percent

• A one percent increase on sales tax — 11.11 percent

• Nothing. We need to find a method to pay that doesn’t burden the residents of the state — 74.36 percent

We hope that a series of public meetings and more minds adding ideas to the mix will come up with a solution everyone can live with.

This week, let’s talk about lawmakers getting involved in advertising geared toward children for unhealthy food on Nickelodeon. What are your thoughts?

Log on. Vote. Email me or respond online.

Misty Poe


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  • Unsung heroes handling calls in emergencies are appreciated

    Thankfully, we live in a community where help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just by dialing three numbers — 9-1-1.
    During this week, which is recognized as National Public Safety Tele-Communicator’s Week nationwide, we need to remember that on the other end of that line are the men and women here in this county who are always there in case of accident, crimes, medical emergencies and any other catastrophic event.

    April 18, 2014

  • Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives

    A figure that we haven’t seen that much in recent years is the highway death toll for a given period.
    Is the death toll up, down or just about the same as it was?
    The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.

    April 17, 2014

  • State native Burwell can ‘deliver results’ as Health and Human Services secretary

    Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
    For the past year, she has run the budget office under President Barack Obama.
    Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.

    April 16, 2014

  • Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better

    When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
    So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.

    April 13, 2014

  • COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable

    That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
    But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
    Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!

    April 13, 2014

  • Decision to be an organ donor can save lives

    Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
    So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.

    April 11, 2014

  • Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community

    Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
    Marion County is full of volunteers.
    They read to our youth.
    They assist nonprofit agencies.
    They serve on boards and committees.
    And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.

    April 10, 2014

  • Proposed school calendar lives up to letter and spirit of law

    West Virginia state law requires that students be in a classroom for 180 days.

    April 9, 2014

  • Strong Fairmont General Hospital badly needed to serve our region

    Mere minutes often matter when it comes to emergency health care.
    That’s why we need a strong Fairmont General Hospital.
    When patients need the services of health-care professionals, having family and friends close at hand is often essential, and their presence may even lead to a better outcome.

    April 6, 2014

  • COLUMN: Fairmont General Hospital vital part of community

    There’s nothing better than holding a newborn baby. It gives you a little feeling that not only is everything right in the world, but this perfect little human represents hope of a future where things will be better than they are today.
    I had that blessed opportunity to hold that hopeful future in my arms last week when I visited my dear friend Jen and her newborn son Tristan at Fairmont General Hospital.

    April 6, 2014

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