House Speaker Tim Miley said he "probably" would oppose taking out additional loans on the West Virginia Turnpike to fund road construction, because of earlier promises to take tollbooths off the highway.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways has recommended the state sell $1 billion in road bonds to generate more money for road repairs and construction.
The commission also recommends keeping tollbooths on the Turnpike and raising tolls to help pay back the bonds.
Miley said he's not sure that's a good idea, because lawmakers have already promised citizens the tolls would come off the 88-mile Turnpike in 2019.
He said he doesn't know how many of his members support that proposal but said the idea has received a "lukewarm reception, at best." He also said the commission's recommendations would not make it through the legislative process without bipartisan support.
Miley is reserving the right to change his mind, however.
"I'll support the most prudent course of action. That's the only commitment I can make," he said.
Experts agree the state's roads are in dire need of repair, Miley said, and the state needs to find ways to finance those repairs.
He said the Legislature would wait to see what direction Tomblin will take on the commission's proposals.
The commission expects to present its findings to the governor sometime over the next few weeks.
Tomblin recently expressed wariness to taking out a $1 billion loan to fund road construction, however.