Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

February 19, 2013

Moore backs toll removal

CHARLESTON — Add another southern West Virginia lawmaker to the list of those who are working to remove tolls from the West Virginia Turnpike.

Delegate Clif Moore, D-McDowell, said Monday that he fully supports bills being drafted by Delegate Marty Gearheart, R-Mercer, and Delegate Linda Sumner, R-Raleigh, that seek the removal of turnpike tolls by 2019, which is when the original bonds used to construct the 88-mile toll road from Princeton to Charleston are due to be paid in full.

The measure being drafted by Gearheart also seeks to preclude future borrowing secured by turnpike tolls. The legislation also aims to provide a new funding source for the maintenance and upkeep of the turnpike by the state Department of Transportation after tolls are removed in 2019. Sumner’s bill by comparison seeks to remove all toll collection booths by Feb. 1, 2020.

“The late Delegate (Mike) Porter, John Shott and myself have been on this issue for many years now,” Moore, a delegate serving McDowell and Mercer counties, said. “As you well know we were out there on the turnpike and protesting.”

Moore said he expects a final turnpike toll removal bill to enjoy a greater level of support in Charleston this year. The last turnpike toll removal bill, introduced by Gearheart during the 2012 legislative session, died in committee.

“I think it will have more traction this year,” Moore said. “One reason is because I think the delegation here is just a very strong delegation. Even though we are from southern West Virginia, we have a lot of influence and clout. Because who knows, one day it may be coming your way. They are talking about putting toll roads here and there.”

Delegate Joe Ellington, R-Mercer, said identifying a source of funding for the maintenance of the turnpike once the tolls are removed is key.

“I think there will be more support, but whether it will get through the House may be another issue,” Ellington said. “But I think with the funding source in place that (the lack of identified funding) was the biggest impediment to it.”

Ellington said toll removal efforts are expected to generate more publicity as well this year, which can help in changing the opinions of other lawmakers living in areas not impacted by the toll road.

Moore said he intends to support whatever final bill reaches the House floor — as long as it calls for the removal of all tolls by 2019.

“I do not see a partisan divide on this,” Moore said of the turnpike toll issue. “Our delegation is very cohesive whether you are a Democrat or a Republican. It’s not a matter of being a Democrat or a Republican.”

Members of the West Virginia Parkways Authority, including Bill Seaver, of Mercer County, are arguing in support of keeping tolls on the turnpike — even after the original bond debt is paid in full in 2019. They claim the state Department of Transportation will not be able to afford the maintenance and upkeep of an additional 88 miles of road. The DOT is currently responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of more than 34,000 miles of state roads.

— Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com

1
Text Only
Local News
  • U.S. shipping coal overseas

    July 28, 2014 1 Story

  • Firefighters worked scenario nearly identical to tunnel incident

    David Thompson Sr., chief of the Green Valley-Glenwood Volunteer Fire Department said on Sunday that regional emergency responders had met in Wytheville, Va., in June to discuss a emergency response that was similar to the real life emergency that occurred Friday afternoon in the northbound lanes of the East River Mountain Tunnel.

    July 28, 2014

  • Elite eight... Eight inducted into Tazewell High School Hall of Fame

    The Elite Eight were honored by the Tazewell High School Hall of Fame Saturday.
    Eight honorees — Glen Riddle, Charles Grindstaff, Whitney Davis, Carol Green Robertson, James “Robbie” Colley, Ralph “Moon” Mullins, James Farley and Don Necessary, Sr. — were inducted Saturday at THS in the seventh annual presentation coordinated by chairman Lawrence (Debo) Johnson. They join 50 previous honorees in the select group of former graduates, supporters and friends of THS as chosen by the HOF committee.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Blue Jays Sunday Danville nips Bluefield in 12 innings

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Practice scenario nearly identical to real-life tunnel fire

    July 27, 2014

  • Crash... Two transported from Route 460 wreck

    Two people were transported to a Mercer County hospital following a two-vehicle wreck Sunday afternoon on U.S. Route 460 at the intersection with Willowbrook Road.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • PRINCETON POLICE DEPARTMENT July 17-23

    July 27, 2014

  • Active warrants in Tazewell County July 27 Active warrants in Tazewell County July 27

    The Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office is currently seeking the following individuals. Anyone with information concerning the whereabouts of these individuals can call the sheriff’s office at 276-988-1167 or the Tazewell County 911 Center at  276-988-0902.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_4822.jpg All tunnel lanes open

    Traffic on Interstate 77 was still backed up about 14 miles in Bland County, Va., Saturday evening, but the Virginia Department of Transportation reported at about 6 p.m. that both northbound lanes of I-77 through East River Mountain were open to traffic.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo 2 Slideshows

  • First on scene... Firefighters’ story: Working together put the fire out

    Lights in the southern end of the tunnel illuminate an odd design beside the catwalk near the left lane of the northbound tube of the East River Mountain Tunnel that transports I-77 from Virginia into West Virginia. Two firefighters who made the initial assault through the total darkness of the soot and smoke-filled tunnel left those marks as they slid their arms along the catwalk wall on their journey back to the light.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

National and World
Newspaper Deivery Routes Available
Sister Newspapers' News
Facebook
Local News Videos