• Setting a special registration fee for alternative-fuel vehicles at $200 a year, which would raise $1.1 million.
If all proposals were adopted, Road Fund revenues would increase by $419.8 million a year -- less than half of what is needed, according to reports to the commission.
Several commissioners noted that it would be politically unfeasible to raise that amount of taxes and fees.
"It will be a challenge to get anything close to $400 million," said Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette, a former Senate president, noting that such increases would draw revenue away from other state agencies.
"You'd just start sucking the life out of everything else in state government," he said.
Wes Stafford, from the engineering consulting firm CDM Smith, told the commission that about 4 percent of state roads -- about 1,397 miles -- are deficient, and about 653 miles of roadways have unacceptable levels of congestion.
If current funding levels are not increased, nearly 39 percent of state roads will be deficient within 25 years, he said.
Stafford said the government needs to come up with about $600 million a year in additional funding to maintain roads at current conditions, and about $1.28 billion a year to meet full highways needs, and reduce the percentage of deficient roads to 1.4 percent.
Sen. Robert Plymale, D-Wayne, said the commission needs to educate the public about the financial cost of allowing roadways to deteriorate.
"What's the cost to commerce?" he asked. "I'm trying to make sure we'll be able to compete, both globally and locally."
Jason Pizatella, counsel to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and chairman of the commission, noted that several states are looking at ways to raise additional revenue to build and maintain highways.
"West Virginia is not alone. West Virginia is not an island," he said. "As we speak, there are at least 20 states considering similar programs."
The commission, made up of state and local officials, members of constituency groups and citizen members, will schedule six public hearings around the state in June, and will meet June 26 to work on final recommendations to present to the governor, tentatively set to be submitted by July 1.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.