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Huge Toll Increase Coming - West Virginia Turnpike

Old 09-02-2018, 03:19 PM
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Default Huge Toll Increase Coming - West Virginia Turnpike

As you are likely aware, one of the fundamental freedoms that we have in the United States is freedom of speech and freedom of expression. The government cannot censor what we say and cannot retaliate against our beliefs.

I recently became aware of a huge toll increase that is coming January 1, 2019 to the West Virginia Turnpike.

First, a little history. The West Virginia Turnpike is an 88-mile section of twisting highway going from Charleston to Beckley WV. The road is set up with three tolling stations as you drive. Up until 2009, the toll was $1.25 for each segment. The total cost to travel the turnpike was $3.75. It was pretty inexpensive.

In 2009, the tolls increased to $2.00 for each station, the total cost to be $6.00. Still not bad and somewhat reasonable.

The Parkways Authority has decided that since West Virginia is in a budget crisis, the turnpike tolls will double in January 2019. As of January it will cost $12 to come across the 88 mile section of road.

See the study for yourself. 20April%202018%2004-03-18.pdf

My last two trips to Ohio I avoided the turnpike. Instead, I traveled along Interstate 65, then Interstate 71 to Interstate 70 to Interstate 77, visiting family. I did not find the turnpike an effective travel road since the speed limits are vastly reduced (in some areas 50 MPH) and the roadway is riddled with torn up sections, rough surfaces, broken surfaces and so on.

So, back to the toll increase. I read the report that went along with the toll increase. It seems that a study was done and it was concluded that many of the travelers are out of state along the turnpike. So, the Parkway Authority decided to go ahead and raise the tolls but also to initiate a feature for local residents who frequently use the roadway where they would pay a maximum of $24 for unlimited use of the turnpike for three years. This option also requires the purchase of an E-Z Pass transponder for $13. So for those unsuspecting out of state travelers, they are going to spend $24 for each round trip on the turnpike while the local residents pay that amount for unlimited use over three years.

Presently, there is an option to have unlimited use of the turnpike for an annual fee of $95. If you compare this plan to the coming plan, you can buy unlimited access for $37 ($24 plus a one-time transponder fee of $13) compared to what three years' access would have cost you, $285. So, the annual cost for the pass will be about 13% of what it used to cost. There is speculation that once the tolls are increased, the E-Z Pass fees will go up, too. It appears that the frequent users have been given a sharp decrease in cost and anyone else who comes across the roadway will be taxed into oblivion.

The problem that I have with this approach to the turnpike tolls is that it is a narrow-minded view that the Parkway Authority will just toll the out of state people to death but give a concession to the locals who would have probably revolted if the toll applied to them. Is this the new way of thinking? As long as it isn't my problem, who cares?

What if Ohio or Virginia started a system of taxing West Virginia license plates on each side of the turnpike under this same philosophy. Who cares, they aren't our residents?

In January, the cost of the toll will be about double the cost of fuel to go the 88 mile segment. You can do the math, assuming 28 MPG and $2.50 per gallon over 88 miles. Frankly, the toll pricing is nothing but taxation without representation.

If West Virginia is in a budget crisis, then let them solve it by not stealing dollars from out of state residents. The toll increases will also show up in the cost of goods and services since trucks will also have a nice increase. Maybe West Virginia needs to have conversations with Virginia and merge again into one state and cut costs.

Interestingly, I recently traveled a 62 mile section along Florida's Turnpike and the total toll cost was a whopping $3.48, less than half the cost per mile of the coming cost of West Virginia's broken up dilapidated highway.

If West Virginia cannot operate efficiently, let it merge with Virginia and cut costs.

Last edited by tony1963; 09-09-2018 at 10:48 AM.
Old 09-02-2018, 04:52 PM
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There are toll roads in Northern Virginia that are much more expensive, and Express Lanes on I-66 inside the Beltway with variable tolls that I've seen as high as $47.00.
Old 09-02-2018, 06:55 PM
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Deleted by author.

Last edited by tony1963; 09-04-2018 at 06:58 PM.
Old 09-03-2018, 05:14 AM
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It's hotel tax on the state level.
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