Rte 35 Tolls.......dead for now.

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Rte 35 Tolls.......dead for now.

Post by Stephanie on Thu Mar 03, 2011 8:05 am

Rt. 35 Toll Plan Hits Roadblock...Again.

The State Senate Wednesday rejected legislation designed to complete the last 15 miles of U.S. Rt. 35 through Putnam and Mason counties. The bill would have set up tolls on Rt. 35 to pay for the road. The bill is controversial because many citizens who live along the road object to the tolls.

Opponents of the plan believe dollars from general revenue should be used to pay for the road, which is estimated to cost $110 million. The bill failed 12-21-1. The vote means the toll plan for 35 is dead for now, but it also means there's no other immediate funding plan for the highway.

The bill before the Senate would have taken $8 million from the state's Infrastructure Development fund each year to guarantee funding even if toll revenue didn't meet expectations.

Prior to the vote, Jackson County Senator Karen Facemeyer and Putnam County Senator Mike Hall spoke out against the plan.

"As a Senator from that area and as a home county, I cannot support this," Facemeyer said. "I do not believe we have looked for the last resort yet."

But state officials have said tolls are the only source of revenue available that could be used to pay for construction. Hall, though, said the $80 million still needed to fund the project can be found elsewhere.

"My problem with this is, this is doable without a toll," Hall said.

Facemeyer agreed with Hall. She said the Division of Highways was determined to keep tolls as a part of the project.

"I know in my heart that Highways wants to toll the road so bad," Facemeyer said. "This one came back on the study as the best possible road to toll in West Virginia that they want to toll."

Acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin released a statement on the Senate's vote saying he would continue to look for other financing possibilities.

"In light of the Legislature's actions, we will reassess the available options to complete this important highway project," Tomblin said.

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Re: Rte 35 Tolls.......dead for now.

Post by Aaron on Thu Mar 03, 2011 9:26 am

Mike Hall explained how to finance this road without using general revenue money and without tolls but it appears those in Charleston have a hard-on for implementing tolls that they won't consider it. This at least kills the bill as I don't believe Parkways can sell the bonds as the revenue projections fall short of the bond payments.

Hopefully.

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Re: Rte 35 Tolls.......dead for now.

Post by SamCogar on Fri Mar 04, 2011 5:11 am

.

I told ya so.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Plans to complete the remaining 14.2 miles of U.S. 35 as a four-lane highway will probably be put on the shelf for the foreseeable future, after the state Senate killed a bill that would have let the highway be financed as a toll road, Division of Highways spokesman Brent Walker said Thursday.

http://www.wvgazette.com/News/201103031149

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