AN immediate long-term solution for ending tolls on the West Virginia Turnpike is right in front of us and still goes unseen.
I have examined the need for tolls and the desire of West Virginia residents to be rid of these tolls, which have been an unfair burden on them for nearly 60 years.
I also reviewed the positions of some who want to keep tolls in place for legitimate reasons.
The state Parkways Authority wants to keep Tamarack open, continue in its economic and tourist-sector development efforts and maintain employment for more than 300 West Virginia residents.
The state Department of Transportation cannot maintain an additional 88 miles of roadway to interstate standards because its annual budget is already stretched too thin. The West Virginia Governor and State Treasurer are trying to be fiscally responsible by not giving up revenue produced by the Turnpike.
Here is a solution all parties can support, and it should be immediately acted upon in special session by the Legislature. Politicians and their constituents will be very happy, and re-election of incumbents is virtually guaranteed.
The Mercer, Raleigh, Fayette and Kanawha County delegations should write up the bill and call upon the governor to convene a special one-day session to pass the bill and send it to his desk for his approval.
So what is this magic solution that would allow West Virginians to keep a few dollars in their pockets?
The answer is expanded use of the E-ZPass system for all West Virginia residents. West Virginians using the expanded system would be charged just like everyone else - with one big exception:
Their usage would be exempted from charge and their accounts zeroed out at the end of each month. No bill would be issued and no charge made to their credit cards.