CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia's citizens -- homeowners, business people, school bus drivers, doctors, miners, truck drivers, farmers, etc. -- will have an opportunity in the coming weeks to provide their views about what should be done to maintain West Virginia's extensive network of roads, bridges and highways.
The opportunity will be a series of nine public meetings that will be hosted by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways.
The commission, which is composed of representatives from a wide range of groups and organizations, has been meeting over the past year to examine the current condition of our state's transportation infrastructure, develop a long-term plan of action, and, if necessary, outline possible new revenue sources.
The commission's study is being driven by the fact that West Virginia's transportation infrastructure is reaching a crisis stage. The primary sources of funds for West Virginia's transportation system are no longer keeping up with the needs. These funding sources are:
1. State gasoline taxes, which are paid when someone fills up his or her gas tank.
2. Federal highway funding, which is allocated to states based on federal gasoline taxes.
3. Taxes paid on the purchase of a vehicle and fees on driver's licenses.
While many people think they are paying a lot of money to support transportation, in reality the average driver spends about $1 a day to support West Virginia's transportation system -- roads, bridges, highways, snow removal, paving, etc.
And some people incorrectly think that funding for roads, bridges and highways also comes from the state's budget or from counties. Not so. That is how it is done in many other states, but not here in West Virginia.