Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

January 8, 2014

Curb tolls with federal legislation

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— — You lend your car to a guy to take his kid with a broken leg to the hospital, and he doesn’t return it. Granted, he can come up with any number of reasons — some good — for not returning it, but that doesn’t alter the fact that it’s your car, and you want it back.

The interstate highway is a federal system, and states do not have the authority to charge tolls on federal roads. The existence of tolls on sections of the interstate is a result of an act of kindness by the U.S. Congress, which allowed the inclusion of existing toll roads to avoid financial harm to the states involved. But that was over a half century ago, more than enough time to have paid off debt that existed at that time.

West Virginia, Pennsylvania and other states charging Interstate tolls are hanging on to a cash cow that doesn’t belong to them. The only way this is going to be resolved is through the U.S. Congress. We should ask our representatives and senators to introduce legislation that sets a date beyond which all tolls collected on interstate highways be turned over to the federal government in order to be eligible for federal maintenance funds. The needs and conditions (Parkways Authority member) Bill Seaver cites are real, but robbing Peter to pay Paul is not a viable solution.

Joe Hall