* 65 percent would support an increase in the state sales tax, dedicated to the Road Fund. However, 21 percent strongly opposed a tax increase.
* 96 percent support continuing tolls on the West Virginia Turnpike, and 77 percent support creating new toll roads for new and expanded highways.
Frieda Napier, one of the few private citizens who spoke Tuesday, told the commission, "We need roads desperately. Hopefully, one day we will drive a four-lane road from Man to Logan."
Afterward, commissioner and Senate Transportation Chairman Bob Beach, D-Monongalia, said he was surprised by the support for increased road funding.
"I was taken aback by the complete opposite position to what we heard in Martinsburg," he said, referring to the site of the first public meeting.
"These folks were willing to step up and support additional revenue for roads," Beach said, discounting the possibility industry representatives had stacked the vote.
Consultants have advised the commission that the state needs an additional $600 million a year of revenue to adequately maintain existing roadways, and more than $1.1 billion a year to complete and maintain the state road system.
In June, a commission Revenue Committee proposed a number of tax and fee increases to raise more than $400 million a year. Key hikes would include a 1 percent increase in the state sales tax, to raise about $200 million a year; increases in various DMV fees, to raise $64 million a year; and a 50-cent-per-pack increase in the cigarette tax, for about $37 million annually.
However, many commission members questioned the feasibility of raising taxes that much, including Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette, who noted, "You'd just start sucking the life out of everything else in state government.
Tuesday's public meeting was the second of nine scheduled around the state through mid-August.
The commission is expected to meet later in August to finalize its recommendations to the governor.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.