Bluefield Daily Telegraph
I am writing this letter in support of Bill Seaver and the West Virginia Turnpike. The turnpike has an income of $90 million and 75 percent is paid by out-of-state residents. If we were to remove the tolls and transfer the cost to the Department of Highways, it would cost $60 million, with a net cost of $150 million to West Virginia taxpayers.
I applaud Mr. Seaver for standing up for common sense. If there is a surplus from tolls, I agree with Senator (Truman) Chafin’s idea to transfer any surplus to the four counties the turnpike runs through, using these funds for economic development.
Furthermore, I think we should expand the turnpike authority to issue bonds to construct Interstate 73/74 from Bluefield to Williamson, with tolls to repay the bonds. This would be a major jobs creator in southern West Virginia and would cut down the drive time from three hours to one and a half hours.
This would save southern West Virginia companies money, make for safer travel and would also spur economic development along the corridor, which we know for a fact happens when interstates are built. And the best benefit is 75 percent is paid for by out-of-state residents.
Southern West Virginia needs good roads, and tolls can make this happen.