The E-ZPass data records could further be used for traffic studies by the federal and state Departments of Transportation. Any loss of toll revenue would be made up by a modification of the current tolls to meet or exceed the current revenue being produced.
No West Virginians would have reason to protest future increases, as only vehicles registered outside of West Virginia would be subject to tolls.
The Turnpike bonds could be paid off and the tolls could continue. We might even be able to afford major improvements to the Turnpike itself instead of constantly sending our money out of state to large banks and brokerage houses.
How could this proposal be implemented? It is as simple as issuing to every private and commercial vehicle registered in the state a special plate that would contain the E-ZPass circuitry. It should be emblazoned with Mountaineer E-Zpass on two lines.
The extra plate would be attached to the front of the vehicle and remain there as long as the vehicle registration remained in effect. There could be any number of drivers for the vehicles, but only one pass per vehicle.
The system could be implemented when each vehicle receives its original registration and also as registrations are renewed. Or all currently registered vehicles could be issued an E-ZPass plate at one time in a special Division of Motor Vehicles mailing.
This system would also allow for development of future publicly and privately funded toll roads and bridges while exempting West Virginians from those tolls.
It is a sensible solution to a never-ending complaint from West Virginia residents regarding payment of Turnpike tolls.
Ash, who lives in Rock, Mercer County, is retired from C&P Telephone Co. and the United Nations. His background is in strategic planning and problem solving.