West Virginia leaders don’t love tax and toll hikes for roads, but some won’t rule them out

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – Entering an election year, state officials aren’t thrilled by suggestions to raise taxes, tolls and fees for roads.

As federal money keeps fizzling, some aren’t dismissing the idea.

West Virginia’s problems appear to be about upkeep, not necessarily congestion.

U.S. Census data from 2013 shows Charleston and Huntington metro areas had commute times about two minutes lower than the national average, almost 26 minutes. The Martinsburg-Hagerstown, Maryland, area exceeds the average by four minutes but includes Washington commuters.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s highways commission suggests adding $419.8 million for roads annually, including tax, toll and fee increases.

Senate President Bill Cole, the top Republican candidate for governor, said everything needs consideration but focus should be on cutting wasteful spending.

Republican House Speaker Tim Armstead expressed concern about raising taxes.

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