The Times West Virginian

Opinion

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 www.timeswv.com 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

mpoe@timeswv.com

@MistyPoeTWV

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Opinion
  • Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely

    The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
    It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
    It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.

    July 23, 2014

  • Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer

    July 22, 2014

  • Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life

    Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
    And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.

    July 20, 2014

  • COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?

    Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
    I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.

    July 20, 2014

  • Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions

    This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
    The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    July 18, 2014

  • Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year

    It’s happening again.
    It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
    But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.

    July 17, 2014

  • County honors men who gave all in helping their community

    The next time you’re driving in the Rivesville area, you might notice new signs on two of the area’s bridges.
    Those signs, which bear the names of Alex Angelino and Denzil O. Lockard, were unveiled Saturday in honor of the men whose names they display, two men who died while serving their communities.
    The bridge on U.S. 19 over Paw Paw Creek was named to honor Lockard, while the bridge on U.S. 19 over Pharaoh Run Creek was named to honor Angelino. Lockard, a former Rivesville police chief, died in 1958 at the age of 48 while directing traffic. Angelino, a Rivesville firefighter, died at the age of 43 of a heart attack while fighting a fire in 1966.

    July 16, 2014

  • State must learn to keep costs down and perform more efficiently on less

    The West Virginia state government began its budget year last Tuesday with a small surplus of $40 million — less than 1 percent of its annual tax revenues — thanks only to dipping into its savings.
    Let’s not do that again.

    July 15, 2014

  • Long-range vision with transportation has been made to be thing of proud past

    Last week’s closure of Fairmont’s Fourth Street Bridge is a symbol of a problem that must be fixed.
    The United States should be proud of the vision its leaders once displayed to address the country’s transportation needs.
    Back in 1954, for example, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced his goal of an interstate highway system — something that transformed the country.

    July 13, 2014

  • COLUMN: Who would leave animal in sweltering car?

    I was standing and debating between two brands of a product in a big box store when I heard a call over the intercom:
    “Will the owner of a green Cavalier with a dog inside please report to the lawn and garden center.”
    I shook my head. I hate seeing dogs in cars waiting while their owners shop. About five minutes later, there was another announcement over the intercom.

    July 13, 2014

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