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


Text Only
  • Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway

    U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.

    July 29, 2014

  • United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project

    The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
    That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.

    July 27, 2014

  • COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard

    I love to talk to readers.
    I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.

    July 27, 2014

  • Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial

    NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
    And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.

    July 25, 2014

  • Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives

    It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
    We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.

    July 24, 2014

  • 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

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