Skip to comments.The short drive to Charleston just got a lot more expensive (West Virginia toll hike)
Posted on 08/25/2018 9:59:07 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
So tolls will soon be increasing along the 88-mile West Virginia Turnpike. This doesnt come as much of a surprise, as the move to double tolls had gained significant momentum in recent months.
Years ago, there appeared to be a solid push among lawmakers in the deep south counties to eliminate tolls once the original bond indebtedness associated with the construction of the turnpike expired. But a number of factors, including the states budget crisis in 2017, derailed those efforts.
Members of the West Virginia Parkways Authority Board voted on June 7 to double tolls effective Jan. 1, 2019. The move will mark the first toll hike along the turnpike since 2009 when tolls increased by 75 cents.
Tolls are being raised so that the Parkways Authority can sell bonds for road projects throughout southern West Virginia. The goal is to eventually sell $330 million of the bonds, starting with $170 million in July.
Among those projects that will be funded by the bonds is the long-delayed King Coal Highway project in Mercer County. That will allow for construction on a 3.8 mile section of the future Interstate 73/74/75 corridor in Mercer County, connecting Bluefields so-called Bridge to Nowhere to the area of Route 123 and the Mercer County Airport. Once finished it will create a usable segment of the King Coal Highway in Mercer County.
So there is some good that will come out of the doubling of tolls. Still, the toll hike is a tough pill for some to swallow. Members of the Parkways Authority have long argued that the largest percentage of travelers along the turnpike are from out-of-state. That is a true statement. But area residents also travel the toll road to reach Beckley and Charleston.
Many in our region travel to Beckley on occasion for a short out of town trip. Some now may opt to avoid traveling to our sister city in order to avoid tolls. Other regional destinations without tolls, such as Christiansburg, Va., and Abingdon, Va., may now appear more attractive to some.
Of course the simplest solution to this predicament is the purchase of an EZ-Pass.
Drivers who frequently use the turnpike can choose to purchase an E-Z pass, which will cost $24 for unlimited use for three years. Those not already in the program would also pay a $13 one-time fee for a transponder. Transponders are attached above the rearview mirror, about 1 inch below the top of the front windshield.
But getting one may be easier said than done.
According to the Parkways Authority, at this time there are only two ways you can purchase an EZ-Pass.
The transponder must be purchased either at the authority’s Charleston office or online at wvturnpike.com. At this time there are no locations in Mercer County where an E-Z Pass can be purchased.
That doesnt make any sense. Area residents should be able to purchase a transponder somewhere in Mercer County. Why not the Department of Motor Vehicles office in Princeton? Why not the Mercer County Courthouse? Why not city hall in Bluefield or Princeton?
Not everyone is comfortable with purchasing things online. Many prefer actual brick-and-mortar sites as opposed to using credit cards and other sensitive information online.
The Parkways Authority should act quickly to address this obvious oversight. Of course folks who already have an E-Z Pass have nothing to worry about. Their accounts will automatically be billed the $24 and their transponders will be reprogrammed.
If you dont purchase an E-Z Pass, and must travel to Beckley or Charleston next year, be prepared to pay more in tolls. Effective Jan. 1, 2019, a round trip to Charleston will cost $24. The current cost is $12.
Thats a big increase. Better buy an E-Z Pass if you plan on making the drive to Charleston on a regular basis.
Now, if I could just find one locally ...
Where Im from, toll bonds are NEVER retired. They are designed to be that way. They will still exist at least until the Universe achieves maximum entropy.
Yes, people still think it is the old bond mechanism, when many of them now are simply private roads with eternal government kickbacks. They’ll neever be “paid off”.
What a pack of greedy bastards our politicans have become!
Last I knew there was a frontage road along the turnpike that one could drive for free.
#5. Not since you wrote this!!
Tolls are one of the original American scams dating back to King George days. Nothing has changed except for roads and automobiles.
Connecticut citizens, LaMont wants tolls...(so he can spend more of your money!!!).
Scroll down to spending by function. This hike ain’t about roads.
Does the WV Turnpike have a route number? In that whole article, only a WV insider would know what actual road they’re talking about.
“Tolls are being raised so that the Parkways Authority can sell bonds for road projects throughout southern West Virginia.”
Not to build the road, not to operate the road, not even to maintain the road - but to create a SLUSH FUND.
So much for the meme “Those who drive on the road, pay for the road”. Well, I guess they do, but they pay for MUCH MORE also (such as the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh transit systems when they drive on the Pennsylvania Turnpike).
Taxes and tolls never go away
The toll road is I 77 and I 64 combined from Beckley to Charleston.
As I recall, I 77 only sections are not tolled. Ditto I 64. The toll is when both are joined
However, the choice of paying double toll or driving on the terrible terrible West Virginia mountain roads the interstates replace is easy
Effective Jan. 1, 2019, a round trip to Charleston will cost $24. The current cost is $12.
So, it took him a while to get to the punchline. So, it was the second last sentence in the article. So, Charles Owens, is the guy with the enormous photo.
Harpers Ferry bump
His info does not jive with the info on the turnpike website. It was not easy to find, but am unlimited pass is currently $25 per quarter or $95 per year. Three tolls gates are $2 each. I can’t tell if you just pay $2 To go the distance or if there are enroute travel barriers.
I looked it up on Google maps. Frontage road is poor and broken in pieces.
CT actually got rid of theirs. I was surprised and just a kid at the time.
My dad told me that these things, sold as temporary, never go away.
However, it sounds to me like they are seeing PA’s success with such a program. It costs about $25 to drive the PA pike from Harrisburg to Somerset and I think it’s like $32 to Pitt.
That’s one freakin’ way. And lemme tell you, the road still has traffic, still has construction.
Thank you. I’ve been all over WV thru the years, but never had occasion to use their turnpike. Some wag once wrote a song, poking fun at the Pennsy Turnpike, “Pennsylvania Turnpike, I Can’t Get Over You,” telling all his problems on that road. The local Harrisburg morning radio guy, the late Ron Drake played that song whenever some turnpike issue was in the news. One thing that irritates me is the salaries the Turnpike Commissioners are rumored to pull down for very little effort.
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