WV highway panel recommends $1B bond issue - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

WV highway panel recommends $1B bond issue

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    Calacino's in Beckley is home to Mountaineer football

    Calacino's in Beckley is home to Mountaineer football

    Saturday, August 30 2014 5:40 PM EDT2014-08-30 21:40:42 GMT
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    The Mountaineers have thousands of fans, but Calacino's in Beckley is one local business that relies on them to keep their doors open.Jerseys, and posters fill the walls and Calacino's owner, Jerry Zaferatos , said in college football you cant count anyone out."I wouldn't have this business if I listened to people saying, you don't have a chance," Zaferatos said.Dominique Calicino opened the business back in the early 1930's and the owner says that he doesn't know where they would be without ...
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    Emergency crews were called to the scene of a ATV accident, just before 10 pm Friday.According to Fayette County 911 the ATV was struck by a vehicle along the 1900 block of Rt 60 Anstead area of Fayette County.One person was transported by helicopter, to a local hospital for treatment, The extent of those injuries or what caused the accident is not yet known at this time.The Fayette County Sheriff Department is investigating.
  • Intruder Kicks in Door at Apartment in Beckley

    Intruder Kicks in Door at Apartment in Beckley

    Friday, August 29 2014 11:27 PM EDT2014-08-30 03:27:05 GMT
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    Beckley Police are searching for two suspects after a burglary at the Lewis Ritchie Apartments in Beckley around 10:00 Friday night (8/29). 

CHARLESTON, WV (AP) — A panel established by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has recommended increasing tolls on the West Virginia Turnpike to finance up to $1 billion in bonds for highway construction and maintenance.

According to published reports, the Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways finalized its recommendation Thursday. Supporters of the plan say the increased tolls would pass along some of the highway costs to out-of-state residents.

Jason Pizatella, chairman of the commission and Tomblin's deputy chief of staff, noted that the proposal needs the support of the governor and the Legislature before the state Parkways Authority could enact it.

Tolls on the 88-mile turnpike are scheduled to come off in 2019, but the commission recommended that the state keep the tollbooths intact and use the revenue to pay back the road bonds. Turnpike drivers currently pay $2 at each booth, but that could more than double. Commercial vehicles currently pay $6.75.

The commission advanced two options for consideration. A plan modeled on recent changes to the Ohio turnpike would raise $600 million over the next 30 years, increasing tolls by 10 percent in the first year and 2.7 percent each year thereafter over the next decade. Under that plan, passenger car tolls would top out at $2.87 by 2024.

A plan modeled on Pennsylvania's turnpike would generate $1 billion by increasing tolls 25 percent in the first year, then 3 percent per year over the next 20 years. That means in 2033, passenger cars would have to fork over $4.38 just to get from Charleston to Cabin Creek.

Pizatella said the group would submit recommendations to Tomblin sometime in the next few weeks, after members have had a chance to proofread the finalized report. He acknowledged the difficulty of getting the recommendations approved with many members of the Legislature running for re-election next year.

"I don't think any part of what we've done over the last year will be easy," he said. "There's a political component in everything we do in government."

Tomblin recently expressed wariness to taking out a $1 billion loan to fund road construction.

"I'm not sure a bond issue of that magnitude at this time is something we want to get into, but I'll reserve judgment until I see the final report," he told the Charleston Gazette earlier this month.

Taken as a whole, the Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways' recommendations would generate $1.1 billion over the next several decades. The panel previously recommended $100,000 in Division of Motor Vehicles fee increases and an annual registration fee for alternative fuel vehicles.

 

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